14 Feb 2018 – 11:25

National Sport Day celebrated with zeal across Qatar

Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani cycling near the towers area to mark Qatar’s National Sport Day, yesterday.

By Irfan Bukhari | The Peninsula

DOHA: Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani participated along with citizens and residents in the activities of Qatar National Sport Day (NSD), which was marked yesterday with traditional fervour.

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The sports activities to celebrate the seventh edition of NSD were held across the country in response to the Emiri decree No. 80 of 2011 which stated that Tuesday of the second week of February each year will be marked as NSD in the country.

H H the Emir participated in the National Sport Day by cycling on the towers area and Doha Corniche to encourage people to keep practicing different kinds of sports activities for good health and fitness.

Father Emir H H Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani also participated in the NSD activities by carrying out a walking exercise in the front yard of the Emiri Diwan. The Father Emir also saw a show of camels and pure Arabian horses. H H Sheikh Abdullah bin Khalifa Al Thani, H E Sheikh Jassim bin Khalifa Al Thani and a number of Their Excellencies Sheikhs and Ministers also participated in the activities along with the Father Emir.

Chairperson of Qatar Foundation, H H Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, also participated in NSD celebrations at Education City campus.

H H Sheikha Moza was joined by President of Qatar Olympic Committee, H E Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani, Minister of Energy and Industry, H E Dr Mohamed bin Saleh Al Sada, Minister of State, H E Dr Hamad bin Abdulaziz Al Kawari, President and General Manager of ExxonMobil Qatar Alistair Routledge and a large number of citizens and residents of the country. The activities began with a sports march that extended to two kilometres, as well as a bicycle and marathon race for 40 and 50 kilometres, respectively, which took off from the Ceremonial Court at the Education City.

Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) President H E Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani also participated in Aspire Zone Foundation’s (AZF) National Sport Day events at AZF facilities. At Aspire Zone’s open playgrounds and gardens, a large numbers of citizens and residents of Qatar took part in Sport Day activities.

H E Sheikh Joaan expressed pride that Qatar is one of the first countries in the world and the first in the Middle East to dedicate a day to sports for all residents. “In order to enrich this event, QOC organised 72 sporting events for all segments of society of all ages on one day with the aim of giving everyone the opportunity to exercise,” he added.

The National Sport Day activities included various sports, such as cycling, swimming, football, basketball, tennis, taekwondo, self-defence, beach volleyball, water sport competitions and indoor activities in clubs and sports federations.

Aspire Zone, Cultural Village-Katara, The Pearl Qatar, Corniche, MIA Park, Education City remained the main venues hosting the NSD activities.

This year, the Ministry of Culture and Sports had called for following the standards and conditions mentioned in the Emiri decision on the country’s NSD in order to ensure the achievement of the desired goals of the day. All State institutions as well as private entities fully participated in Sport Day activities by organising dozens of activities across the country.

Prime Minister and Interior Minister H E Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani participated in the celebrations of the NSD, which were organised by the Ministry of Interior, represented by the Police Sports Federation, at Qatar Sports Club.

A delegation from the brotherly State of Kuwait led by Kuwait Police Sport Federation President, Major General Abdullah Youssef Al Mehanna, attended the event along with Oliver Stolpe, senior programme officer at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and a number of senior officials and officers from the Ministry of Interior.

The Prime Minister and Interior Minister, in his capacity as Lekhwiya force commander, also participated with the force’s personnel in their NSD celebration, which was held at Lekhwiya arenas and grounds in the presence of nearly 3,000 military and civilian members of the force.

Minister of Culture and Sports, H E Salah bin Ghanem Al Ali participated in the activities in the presence of a large number of AZF senior officials, staff and general public at Aspire Zone.

Minister of Culture and Sports said on the occasion: “The National Sport Day is a distinctive idea as today the participation in sports and awareness of its importance exceeded all expectations. Qatar is a role model for community sports.”

Advisory Council also celebrated Qatar Sport Day with the participation of Speaker of the Advisory Council H E Ahmed bin Abdullah bin Zaid Al Mahmoud.

The activities started with the gathering of the members and employees of the Council in front of its building.

The participants then proceeded in a march which embodied the goals and meanings that Sport Day aims for.  H E Al Mahmoud expressed his thanks and gratitude to Emir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani for dedicating a Sport Day in Qatar where everyone participated in various sports activities.

He said the great initiative emphasised the great community awareness of the importance of sport and its role in human health and nation-building. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Defence Affairs H E Dr Khalid bin Mohamed Al Attiyah participated in the armed forces’ event at Meqdam camp on the occasion of celebrating the National Sports Day.

The Ministry of Transport and Communications also marked the National Sport Day in collaboration with Qatar Airways at Al Sadd Sports Club.

In this year’s celebrations, the Ministry and QA were joined by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), Communications Regulatory Authority (CRA), Mowasalat (Karwa), Qatar Ports Management Company (Mwani), Qatar Aeronautical College and Hamad Port.

Minister of Transport and Communications H E Jassim Saif Ahmed Al Sulaiti said: “Qatar National Sport Day reflects the vision of the wise leadership for building individuals and society. Its key message is that sports should be a part of the culture and life of individuals and society, and one aspect of investing in the human element.”

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, Akbar Al Baker, said: “We are proud to take part in National Sports Day celebrations and to promote Qatar’s 2030 Vision.”

This year, the National Sports Day was marked amid increased activity in the tourism industry in general and sports tourism in particular, with the latter being one of four main areas identified by the next phase of Qatar National Tourism Sector Strategy 2017-2023 to achieve the growth and development goals of the Qatari tourism sector.

Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) has been able to strengthen the status of Qatar over the past years as a sports tourism destination that attracts the attention of sports federations, clubs, athletes and fans alike.

The Hamad Medical Corporation’s National Sport Day events focused on raising awareness and to inspire the community for making long-lasting lifestyle changes.

Activities held at The Pearl-Qatar and Katara highlighted positive effects of sport and physical activity as part of adopting a healthy lifestyle.