The first graduates from the National Federation Managers Programme's General Secretaries and Executive Managers Course had their formal first class graduation ceremony on Sunday.

This level one course was organized by the Bahrain Olympic Committee’s (BOC) Sports Training and Development Section, in co-operation with the World Academy of Sport (WAoS) at the Gulf Hotel.

A key partnership between the BOC and WAoS was signed to deliver management education for the committee and the GCC region.

The long term agreement provides a focal point for the delivery of sport and event management education across the GCC region through the creation of the "BOC Academy", a newly created division inside the BOC.

Twenty graduates, with the best exam marks, were chosen to move on into level two, scheduled to take place from November 11 to 22. They include five each from the BOC and other GCC sports federations, as well as 10 from the recently-concluded level one course.

The academy is world sport's education partner, delivering educational programmes and creating sustainable long term partnerships for the benefit of sport and partner organisations worldwide.

"This is an important partnership for us in the region as we continue our efforts in providing tailored education solutions to the international sporting world," said WAoS Director Chris Solly at the ceremony. "The BOC has for many years invested in the development of coach education and has over 1,500 accredited coaches."

"We are delighted to join with them in the important development of sporting managers to complement this expertise," said the Australian director.

Solly arrived in Bahrain from Malaysia where he attended the International Hockey Federation Congress hosted by the Malaysian Hockey Confederation.

Solly was instrumental in the conception and creation of Olympic Games Knowledge Services, a joint venture with the International Olympic Committee in 1999.

On his part, BOC General Secretary Shaikh Ahmed bin Hamad Al Khalifa stressed the committee’s keenness to implement this programme by helping general secretaries and executive managers in all sports federations to be professionals.

"Our partnership with the World Academy of Sport is a key element in the establishment of the Bahrain Olympic Academy as we strive to provide the best possible services for our sporting community in Bahrain and across the region," said the secretary general.

"We have just completed the first level of the National Federation Management Programme, and are pleased to see the progress made in such a short space of time."

"The clearer the focus on the organization the better the results. This programme is one of the benefit of strategic planning," said Sports Training and Development Section head Nabeel Taha.

"I think looking at the programme a year from now, we can be proud to see the decision by the BOC being implemented, helping those people reach professionalism and bring the success that Bahrain can achieve from this programme."

Hisham Al Shehabi was also thrilled with the experience he had from this course as he gave a speech on behalf of the participants.

"The course was one that I enjoyed greatly and what I learned came from you, the participants, as much as it did from the lecturers and directors," he said.

"The most important lesson for me was that Bahrain has good, smart and driven people in the field of sports. That is something our rich neighbors cannot say of their sport sector."

Al Shehabi said that in the long road of development ahead, they will need to learn from what has worked in other parts of the world, noting the important of learning from their mistakes and build upon the relationship with the likes of the WAoS and International Olympic Committee.

BOC_6632: The graduates with course officials at the graduation ceremony

BOC_6368: Chris Solly, left, with Shaikh Ahmed and other officials attending the graduation ceremony

BOC_6625: Shaikh Ahmed addresses the participants at the graduation ceremony

BOC_6532: Ali Al Buainain from the Bahrain Football Association, left, receives his certificate from Shaikh Ahmed, as Chris Solly looks on.

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