"King of the Mile" Hicham El Guerrouj Joins ASPIRE Sports Academy, Qatar

Jul 27, 2006, 01:00 ET from ASPIRE

    DOHA, Qatar, July 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Triple world record holder and
 sporting icon Hicham El Guerrouj has joined the team at ASPIRE, the Academy
 for Sports Excellence based in Doha, to offer encouragement and inspiration
 for the next generation of athletic hopefuls.
     (Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20060727/221239 )
     As an ASPIRE Ambassador, El Guerrouj will work with the Academy to
 offer guidance and advice for current student athletes as well as backing
 wider sports inclusion programs for children in the Middle East and beyond.
     Officially opened in November 2005, ASPIRE is one of the most advanced
 Athletic Academies in the world, and was developed as part of a billion
 dollar investment into sport in Qatar.
     The Academy is working hard to attract the world's best coaches across
 a range of disciplines and executives hope that attracting talents of the
 calibre of El Guerrouj will offer ASPIRE's student athletes a unique source
 of learning and inspiration.
     The double Olympic champion, who holds the world record for the 1,500
 metres, the mile and 2,000 metres, announced his retirement in May of this
 year and expressed his desire to continue to contribute to the development
 of sport throughout the region.
     El Guerrouj said: "I have watched ASPIRE develop as an institution from
 the very beginning and have been very impressed by its impact upon youth
 development in the Middle East and the wider Arab world. If my contribution
 helps to inspire more young athletes to train and develop their talents, it
 will be a worthwhile experience for us all."
     ASPIRE previously hosted El Guerrouj in November 2005, when he was one
 of the sporting legends present at the ceremony to inaugurate the opening
 of the world's largest indoor sports dome on the ASPIRE campus.
     Dr. Thomas Flock, Director General at ASPIRE, commented: "Hicham El
 Guerrouj is widely recognized as one of the greatest athletes in the
 history of international competition, so his association with us is both an
 honour and a major opportunity for our students.
     "We hope that they will learn from his example and that - whatever
 levels of sport they are able to compete at in the future - they recognize
 the importance of character, ambition and the sporting spirit that Hicham
 El Guerrouj exemplifies."
     About ASPIRE
     ASPIRE, the Academy for Sports Excellence, Doha, was created with the
 dual aims of identifying and transforming promising student athletes into
 world renowned champions across a wide range of sports and to act as a
 beacon to draw sporting culture into the centre of life in Qatar and the
 surrounding region.
     The Academy is distinguished by a philosophy which aims to develop the
 whole student, providing them with full academic, social and sporting
     Unrivalled facilities mark the Academy out as one of the world's
 foremost sporting and educational institutions, and entice an ever
 increasing number of visitors from across the spectrum of world sports to
 use or simply view them. These same facilities will also play host to
 events during the forthcoming Asian Games 2006.
     With one indoor and seven outdoor football pitches, athletics tracks,
 an Olympic-sized swimming pool, diving pool, combat arenas, gymnastics
 arena, specially designed weight rooms, lecture halls, dormitories to
 accommodate what will eventually become 1,000 students, a medical centre
 and much more besides, beneath the world's largest purpose built indoor
 sports dome, every aspect of the development of elite athletes is catered
 for. ASPIRE is a place for those who dare to dream.