Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al-Sabah

Week 18 (18 - 24 January 2014)

When Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al-Sabah took over as the President of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) on 13 April 2012, he spoke openly and passionately about his vision for the organisation to show greater "unity and solidarity" under his leadership.

Fast forward to the present day and Sheikh Ahmad's desire for the Olympic Movement to stand together, as one, remains as palpable as it was on the day of his election in Moscow almost two years ago.

Speaking to sport intern in an exclusive interview this week, Sheikh Ahmad pledged ANOC's full support to Sochi 2014 and the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) as they prepare to host the Winter Games for the very first time in just over two weeks.

While others who have a vested interest in Sochi 2014 succeeding continue to criticise, Sheikh Ahmad has embraced his role and responsibility as a senior stakeholder of the Olympic Games. It was refreshing to hear him recognise the "outstanding job" done by the Sochi 2014 Organising Committee and the ROC and express his certainty "that Sochi 2014 will be a truly memorable and historic event, not just in Russia's rich sporting history, but in the history of the Olympic Movement."

It is perhaps appropriate that a man who promises such solidarity is the Chairman of the Olympic Solidarity Commission. But Sheikh Ahmad's rally for concord and unity is not derived from a sense of duty but an understanding that when the world's NOCs stand together they have a "remarkable power to inspire peace and harmony on a global scale." Nowhere can this power be harnessed more, he argued, than at the Sochi 2014 Winter Games, where "people of different nationalities, races and beliefs" will be brought together "in celebration and respect of human diversity."

This public demonstration of support is symptomatic of the ANOC President's career in which he has sought to build and develop collaborative relationships with organisations both in and outside the world of international sport.

His regular willingness to put his head above the parapet to campaign for collaboration is what distinguishes him as one of the great leaders within the Olympic Movement.

Photo: ANOC