New stadium technologies unveiled on first day of Aspire4Sport

by  — 17 November 2013

ASPIRE4SPORT 2013 Conference and Exhibition, one of the region’s largest sporting exhibitions opened yesterday. Numerous delegates, visitors and sporting personalities attended the sports business platform, which was officially opened by Qatar’s Minister of Youth and Sport, His Excellency Salah bin Ghanem Al Ali.

Numerous sporting greats are  in Doha for the event, including football’s Alan Shearer, basketball legends Shaquille O’Neal, Dennis Rodman and Alonzo Mourning, former world heavyweight boxing champion Lennox Lewis, and Qatari rallying stars Saeed Al Hajri and Abdulaziz Al Kuwari. Shearer, the English Premier League’s all-time top scorer, was joined by Lewis for a Q&A session on Saturday evening to discuss their fascinating careers.

During the opening session, Dr Khalifa Al Kuwari, chief executive officer at Aspetar, a member organisation of Aspire Zone Foundation (AZF) said, “Whatever part of the sports industry you are in, whatever sport is of interest to you, you will find solutions, answers, opportunities and a wealth of positive experiences at our ASPIRE4SPORT 2013.”

Dr Al Kuwari went on to explain the important role played by AZF saying, “Aspire Zone Foundation is the home to some of the world’s finest sport stadia and venues, staffed by some of the most talented trainers and educators in the world, thus offering an effective combination of sport, sports medicine and research, and sport education. We are motivated to make sport take a central role in the lives of individuals locally, regionally and internationally.”

Engineer Mohammed A Al Meer, engineering department manager at AZF, highlighted the projects planned for the foundation during his address. According to Al Meer, the new facilities will include training venues, indoor facilities, winter indoor facilities, target and martial arts facilities, a skate park, water rafting and an indoor cycling venue. It will also host multipurpose conference facilities, including hotels, restaurants and residential real estate in an attempt to attract a metropolitan community.

A highlight of the opening session was a Q&A with Professor Volkwin Marg, founder of German architectural firm GMP. Prof Marg who has designed and delivered many FIFA and UEFA stadiums discussed the credentials necessary for winning a tender to build world-class stadiums.

Another enlightening presentation came from Dina Tamimi, senior manager, Sports & Entertainment at Cisco Systems who are working with Khalifa Stadium on connectivity within the venue. She said, “Cisco is working with Aspire to choose from approximately 100 smart services to be put into the stadium, which means there will be no need for redevelopment in 10 or even 15 years’ time, because if you want to stay ahead of the curve you have to think beyond a great looking building.”

 There was also much excitement about the presentation given by Suprastadio, who demonstrated a revolution in stadium design. According to the designer Mathias Muller Using, in a Suprastadio grandstand system with 55,000 spectators, the last row is more than 20 metres closer to the playing field than in a conventional stadium, and takes up a third less ground space. Moreover, the compact nature of the different tiers makes the interior considerably smaller, making it easier and more environmentally sustainable to control the climate, either through heating or air conditioning.

The opening day also heard from Abdul Rahman Al Malki, the director of engineering department at the Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC), who spoke about the new developments taking place in sports infrastructure around Qatar, with a special focus on Al Sadd. He said, “For example, within 48 hours it can become an ice hockey arena, the biggest in Middle East. Other developments over the next four years include a tennis stadium for 12,000 spectators, the Al Gharafa sports club complex, Al Rayyan Qatar Club, Alfardan playgrounds, a female multi-training arena, and training centres in Lusail.” 

Events planned for today (Sunday) include an update from the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee, a case study on safe modular electricity storage systems, a panel discussion on procurement policies, and many more discussion on innovative solutions for modern stadium design.

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