Italian Minister for Youth Policies and Sports Vincenzo Spadafora yesterday officially opened Casa Atletica, which will serve as the Italian headquarters in Qatar for the IAAF World Athletics Championships 2019 that will be held in Doha from today until October 6.
Casa Atletica, in co-operation with the Italian embassy in Doha, will bring “a piece of Italian culture to Qatar”, a showcase for Italian design, music, cuisine and several other cultural events. It is located on the 29th floor of W Doha Hotel.
“I am new to this position as a minister but I’m really appreciating the fact that we are so much involved in sports and youth development. I really think this can really be the new direction that we can support,” the recently appointed minister told reporters during a press conference.
The event was attended by Italian ambassador Pasquale Salzano, Italian Athletics Federation president Alfio Giomi, Italian Chamber of Commerce in Qatar chairperson Palma Libotte and other guests.
According to the embassy, the 29th floor of the hotel has been redesigned to host a rich programme of sports and culture aimed at promoting “Italian cultural identity and lifestyle expressed through the five senses: sight, hearing, taste, touch and smell”.
Casa Atletica has always been the reference point for the Italian sporting, media and cultural world during the World Athletics Championships, the embassy added.
This “unique facility” will also serve as a venue for all press conferences of the Italian team as well as the Italian Athletics Federation Web TV operations, which will broadcast daily: talk show, interviews and behind-the-scenes action.
In his speech, Spadafora underscored the importance of sports saying, it is “an extraordinary world that has not only put emphasis on traditions and culture but is also a leading factor that catalyses opportunities for business and in the industrial sector.”
The minister also highlighted the efforts of Qatar in promoting sports, describing it as “a nation that puts emphasis on sports as well as on bilateral relations between the two countries in this field”.
“I am very happy and look forward to this co-operation,” said Spadafora, who is set to meet HE the Minister of Culture and Sports Salah bin Ghanem bin Nasser al-Ali today.
“This meeting is a follow-up to a memorandum of understanding that was signed last year during the official visit of His Highness the Amir to Rome. I am sure it will be an occasion to develop new co-operation and synergy in this field for our countries,” said the minister, adding that he was also excited to meet all the Italian athletes.
“I noticed there is a good balance among the 65 athletes in terms of gender,” he noted. Salzano echoed the statement of Spadafora, saying that Qatar attaches a lot of significance and value to sports.
“We also have a National Sport Day, which is considered a local festivity. Qatar focalised on sports as a tool to help people develop in a healthy way as well as develop the youth and the young generation,” the envoy said.
About the visit of the Italian minister, Salzano said, “the news of having our minister here during this important event has generated interest from our Qatari counterpart and we are very proud of this.”
“I myself am thankful to the minister for being here today,” he added.