The official mascot of the 13th IAAF World Indoor Championships in Athletics will be called "Saham", the Doha 2010 organising committee has revealed.
The organizing committee unveiled the mascot after consulting with numerous experts in addition to the suggestions of citizens and residents of Qatar.
"Saham" is a caracal, a mid-sized cat found across the Arabian Peninsula, which is especially important to Qatar because it is one of the few remnants of the desert heritage of its people.
The Caracal in Arabian lore, very much like the iconic falcon or the Lynx which it shares physical traits with, is a symbol of vitality and great skill.
It has thrived in the region for many centuries even in the face of adverse weather and urban areas slowly encroaching into its natural space.
Being a protected species, this mascot is also a channel for generating awareness within the local community of the presence of such majestic creatures that need our support to flourish into the future.
Many naming routes were considered including traditional and modern naming methodologies but to properly introduce the people of Qatar and the world to 'Saham' a proper narrative had to be created and we are confident now that we have a mascot that can live up to his responsibilities, says Abdulrahman Al-Dossari, Director of Public Relations and Marketing at the Qatar Olympic Committee.
"Saham is not just any mascot. Like many of us, he can tell us the story of how he became the person he is today and what makes him ideal for the job he has been entrusted with."
Saham, who was born in Al Shahaniyah, on the outskirts of Doha, grew up with his family near Al Wabra Wildlife Preservation.
The eldest of three children, Saham was groomed from an early age to carry on the family's great affection for sport.
A natural athlete, he learnt at an early age, from his grandfather and father, that sport is more than just performance. It is a calling and one that requires dedication, honesty to one's self, and an ingrained spirit of fair play.
Saham is a proud Qatari and partakes in all its traditions - he plays the Nai with passion, loves sport of all kinds, likes going out on excursions with his friends, and even likes keeping fit by running on the Corniche at sunset.
According to Al-Dossari, "Saham was chosen because of the values he represents.
"They complement our overall ambition of Challenging the Limits of Qatari achievement in sport, as well as inspiring the participants as well as people in general to 'Challenge their own Limits' during the upcoming championships," he says.
"We don't want this to be just another global sporting event held in Qatar. We want it to be a premier sporting extravaganza that includes an experience like no other."
"Part of our mandate therefore is enthusing confidence in the youth of our nation and encouraging them to aim as high as they can, which is where Saham will play an important role," he added.
One of the major ambitions for WIC Doha 2010 is that it will set the pace for a brand new age in athletics, not just in the region but internationally.
For a fleeting moment, from 12-14 March 2009, Doha will be the capital of global athletics. And during this period, Qatar will have the opportunity to further enhance its reputation as a credible host of more such events in the future.
More importantly, it will be an opportunity for the people of the world to unite under one roof, regardless of nationality, race or personal beliefs, to put on a show that is underlined by talent, skill, hard work and above all, the spirit of sportsmanship.