The FIA President Heads The First FIA Sport Regional Congress (MENA) in Kuwait

The FIA President Heads The First FIA Sport Regional Congress (MENA) in Kuwait

06.03.2015: Upon the arrival of the FIA President Jean Todt to the venue, the activities of the first FIA Sport Regional Congress

Upon the arrival of the FIA President Jean Todt to the venue, the activities of the first FIA Sport Regional Congress – Middle East and North Africa (MENA) were launched today, Friday, at 10h00 - Kuwait time (7h00 GMT), under the patronage of His Excellency the Kuwaiti minister of Information and State minister for Youth Affairs and Sports, Sheikh Salman Al-Hmoud, with the participation of the FIA President, Jean Todt; the FIA Vice-President, Nasser Bin Khalifa Al-Attiyah; the FIA Deputy President for Sport, Graham Stoker; and the CEO of the Kuwait International Automobile Club, Essa Hamza; in addition to a great number of international automobile experts and around 70 attendeesrepresenting 19 members states from the MENA region.

The FIA President Jean Todt declared
: “It is a great pleasure to visit Kuwait for the second time. As you know, I have been travelling a lot in the MENA region which is a very important part of our organization”. He added that it was very pleasing to see friends running and developing motor sport, not only at the regional level but also at the international level”.

 He indicated the following:
“Our organization is global with around 150 countries and 250 clubs with a specificity, compared to all the other sport organizations…We work on regulating motor sport, starting with grass root events, karting, drifting and national events andending with international ones”.

“What has been done over the last decade in motor sport in the region is absolutely fantastic. I can say that all this is the result of your contributions, as you worked very closely with the FIA”, stated Todt.

He pointed out as well that members from the FIA Development Department hadcome from Geneva to help the participants address all the questions they might have.

On the other hand, the FIA Deputy President for Sport Graham Stoker underscored the fact that a strong sport needs strong clubs, adding that, under the leadership of President Todt, the FIA was strong enough to deliver and announce the comprehensive development program.

“Over the next two days, we have a new training program. We have got a taskforce which will work over the course of the year to address your problems and support you. We have certain events during this year: a mid-year sports conference and a forum towards the end of the year where club issues will be discussed.

And now, we have a comprehensive grant program which involves the distribution of billions of Euros of support to you, so you can grow your sport…So, for the first time in 2015, the FIA steps up to develop this sport. I think it is an exciting year and it is a great pleasure to startfrom here, among our friends in the MENA region and Kuwait”, explained Stoker.

Concerning the situation in the MENA region after the appointment of Nasser Al-Attiyah as FIA Vice-President, Stoker said: “What is exciting about the region is that there are strong examples in motor sport, but it is still growing.

When I look around the world at other areas, at the challenges in Africa and the well-establish sports in Europe, I see the MENA region as the place where the lessons are to be learned for development. It is very exciting. And there is a great enthusiasm in the region.”

Concerning the extent to which our laws are keeping up with the motor sport development, Stoker pointed out that we should start showing how this sport is socially responsible. He asserted that motor sport was engaging young people and women and using green sustainable engines and new technologies, while pointing to the existence of a whole range of issues showing that this is a leading sport.

Furthermore, the MENA Coordinator of the FIA Imad Lahoud declared:
“We need to keep pace with the developments that are taking place in motor sport around the world to prove that our region is no longer forgotten. On the contrary, it is strongly present on the world motor sport map”.

 Speaking about motor sport in Lebanon, he pointed out that the Lebanese people is known for its passion for car races, adding that Lebanon organizes the Rally of Lebanon and several championships, in particular the asphalt rally challenge, not to mention the fact that Lebanon is the only country to organize such races.

In his capacity as the Coordinator of FIA Drag Racing Commission in the MENA region, Sheikh Mohammad Al-Khaled Al-Sabah thanked all the participants, at the top of them the FIA President Jean Todt and the FIA Vice-President Nasser Al-Attiyah, for having trusted him to carry out a mission with a special agenda, considering the great popularity of this sport in the Gulf Region, while affirming the following:

 “I will spare no effort to promote this sport and expand its reach to the region of North Africa, as part of the MENA region, by establishing a direct contact with the heads of motor sport federations and clubs”.

He also emphasized that he was convinced that the Congress would be successful, especially with the participation of 19 countries and the great support of FIA President and Vice-President.

With regards to women involvement in motor sport, Marielou Cruz, the FIA Marketing Coordinator and Deputy of FIA Vice-President in the MENA, said: “It is a great pleasure to be part of the MENA region and we are really pushing to ensure that women are involved in motor sport.

For this purpose, we have a big surprise in the future, probably in October. We will organize a women training in Qatar, to which all female drivers and co-drivers will be invited, along with Michèle Mouton, JuttaKleinschmidt and Fabrizia Pons. We are looking forward to that”.

From her part, Frédérique Trouvé, the Deputy Director of the FIA Development Department and the FIA Women Commission Manager, stated: “We started last year with a seminar organized upon the initiative of Mr. Nasser Al-Attiyah in Qatar. It was the first women seminar in the Middle East.  

We were very proud to support it, because it is an incredible initiative by Mr. Al-Attiyah. We are here for a three-day congress with an unexpected participation. We have 19 countries represented out of 20 and around 60 delegates”.

“We will be celebrating the International Women’s Day on Sunday. I was behind the creation of the FIA Women Motor Sport Commission. I submitted the project to Jean Todt. We are pushing hard for this and we are receiving a big support from the MENA region”, she added.


- Neus Ramos Feliu, also photos


06.03.2015 / MaP

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