Sport

India has made huge contribution to Qatar’s transformation: Al Khater

Nasser Al Khater.

Nasser Al Khater.  

On all fronts, Indian football now has the platform to dream once again of the Asian glory of the mid-1950s and mid-1960s.

I thank Sportstar for inviting us and giving me the opportunity to be with you tonight to celebrate India’s sporting achievers.

I am honoured to be here before you, in this great city, to be part of an event dedicated to the sporting achievements of India, a country connected closely to the emotional templates of Qatar and the region.

A few weeks ago, I was among those who celebrated Qatar’s win in the Asian Cup in the face of massive obstacles. In the same tournament, India had put itself back on the Asian stage with exciting performances against Thailand and UAE, both established Asian footballing nations.

It is evident that Indian football has made rapid progress in Asia, which was also witnessed in the AFC U-16 Championships last year in Malaysia when your age-group boys qualified out of a group which included the mighty Iran.

Indian Super League has now carved out a space in a cricket-mad nation for football and I understand the growing popularity of the league has boosted the media profile of football in India considerably.

On all fronts, Indian football now has the platform to dream once again of the Asian glory of the mid-1950s and mid-1960s.

Qataris feel togetherness in joy or sorrow with India’s sporting achievements — and this is because of our age-old ties with India.

The Indians have made a huge contribution to the transformation of Qatar into a vibrant modern economy diversifying into technology and innovation sectors as part of a national strategy called Qatar National Vision 2030, which was launched two years before Qatar won the bid to host the 2022 FIFA WC in December 2010.

We are well aware that for Qatari, Arab and South Asian residents of Qatar event experience will be incomplete without incorporating Indian elements.

So, I wind up my address by inviting Mumbaikars, and all Indians, to come to Qatar in 2022 — consider it your tournament. I guarantee you that you will return cherishing the experience of being in Qatar and, of course, with memories of being a part of the world’s most popular single-sport tournament.

I admit I do not follow the sport but, at the same time, I am aware that India has won two ICC World Cups, the first of which was in England in 1983. I am also aware that you defeated the mighty West Indies, a team which I understand had the same stature of the Brazil team of the 1970 FIFA World Cup. I understand that members of Indian cricket’s ‘Class of 1983’ are in the audience and I wish to extend my invitation to them to come to Qatar in 2022. I also invite the 2011 WC winning team, whose members are also here.

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Printable version | Jul 12, 2020 10:49:33 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/india-has-made-huge-contribution-to-qatars-transformation-al-khater/article26273297.ece

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