Milan: The Opening Ceremony of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 this week picked up a gold medal at a prestigious international awards ceremony held in Italy.

Topping the category of Best Sporting Event, the spectacular Opening Ceremony of the first FIFA World Cup in the Middle East and Arab world was recognized by the judges of the BeaWorld Festival – an awards ceremony which recognises the best creative talents in the world of sports and events.

Selected from 333 competing events from 24 countries, the Qatar 2022 Opening Ceremony was recognized alongside Al Nehem the WhaleShark - The Lusail Icon, which won best Creative Installation.

Both events – which were developed by Balich Wonder Studio, the leader in creating live entertainment experiences, part of Media and Entertainment powerhouse, Banijay – celebrated Qatar and the values of sports with contemporary and innovative narratives.

The Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup Opening Ceremony was an unforgettable 30-minute ceremony broadcast in more than 170 countries, which became part of football’s history and brought Qatar’s vision of unifying the world to life.

Overseen by the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, and the Qatar 2022 LLC, the iconic Opening Ceremony was conceived and produced by Balich Wonder Studio, with the support of the well-known Qatar artist Ahmed Al-Baker as co-artistic director.

Meanwhile, the WhaleShark - The Lusail Icon, was named as best Creative Installation, recognizing the work of creator Marco Balich in using Qatar 2022 as a backdrop to symbolize Qatar’s interest in conserving its natural environment. After becoming a social media sensation, seen by millions of people all over the world, the WhaleShark is now a permanent icon of sustainability as well as a new landmark for the country.

Marco Balich, Chairman of Balich Wonder Studio, said: "We believe that projects of this magnitude are unique opportunities to spread good messages to the world, and we are honored to having supported the Qatari leadership and the magnificent work done by exceptional Qatari and worldwide professionals. We hope to make the country again shine on the global stage".

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