16 May 2006

Nasser Al-Attiyah of Qatar Named First United Nations Global Sport Fund Ambassador

(Re-issued as received)

DOHA, 15 May (UN Information Service) -- United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa today named Qatar's Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah, world champion rally driver and Olympic shooter, as the first Global Sport Fund (GSF) Ambassador.

The Global Sport Fund was established by UNODC with funding from the Qatar National Olympic Committee to help prevent vulnerable young people from being sucked into crime and drug abuse. As a GSF ambassador, the 36-year-old Al-Attiyah will use his position as a high-profile athlete to raise awareness about the potential of sport to help young people.

"Mr Al-Attiyah is an accomplished athlete in sports that require precision and dedication, where being distracted by drugs would make success impossible", said Mr. Costa. "He has the credentials to show young people what tremendous achievements are possible by living a healthy, drug-free lifestyle".

Al-Attiyah placed fourth in skeet shooting in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, improving on a sixth-place finish in the 2000 Games in Sydney. He was also a gold medallist at the 2002 Asian Games and the first place finisher at the 2001 World Cup competition in Thailand.

Al-Attiyah will represent Qatar in skeet shooting at the 2006 Asian Games in early December before turning to his equally accomplished career as a rally car driver to compete in the Dakar 2007 Rally in January.   

"For driving and for shooting, I have to have a clear mind and a steady hand", said Al-Attiyah. "I look forward to taking advantage of my position as a GSF Ambassador to tell children in places where I compete that success in sport and in life depends on respecting yourself and making positive choices".

As a rally car driver, Mr. Al-Attiyah has been successful in some of the world's biggest competitions. So far in 2006, he has first place finishes in the Argentina Rally (production cars) and in the Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates international rally races. He was runner-up in the World Rally Championship production car series in 2005 and ended the year with seven first place finishes. He placed 10th in the Dakar Rally as a privateer in 2004 and was the FIA Middle East Rally Champion in 2005 and 2003.

The Global Sport Fund will provide grants to non-governmental organizations for projects that use sport to prevent drug use and criminal behaviour among young people. It will sponsor events, youth camps and exhibitions and hold training seminars for coaches and young people.

The Qatar National Olympic Committee is providing facilities at its Doha headquarters to house the Fund and a newly opened UNODC office.

* *** *

For information contact:

Richard Murphy
Chief, Advocacy Section, UNODC
Telephone: +43 1 260 60 5761
E-mail: richard.murphy@unodc.org