Qatari adventurer Abdulla al-Hammadi and his French teammate Pierre Daniel launched their attempt to cycle around Qatar yesterday morning from Katara.
The duo will cover a distance of more than 500km to visit a number of schools around the country while promoting road safety and an active lifestyle.
Yesterday, it was an 80km trip to Al Thakira, which included a visit to Al Khor International School. Things will get serious in the next three days as they will need to cover 130-160km every day, before finishing their challenge at Aspire Zone on Friday, a press statement notes.
“It will be a tough challenge, but we are ready for it. The weather is beautiful this time of the year and that will help us. After we visited two schools on Monday and saw how the kids were eager to know more about this sport and our ride, it gave us a lot of enthusiasm, and it was not different on Tuesday at Al Khor International School – the way they received us was amazing. We are really glad to be doing this to inspire the future generations,” al-Hammadi said.
Al-Hammadi, 60, is already one of the most inspiring sports figures in Qatar. He was the oldest participant at the Samla race this year and he regularly takes part in various endurance sports competitions in Qatar and around the world. Last year, he cycled across Japan from north to south.
“Age is never a limit. People must understand that. It is never too late, you just need to start, it is the most difficult step, but then after that you also need to make exercising a vital part of your daily life. It can be only walking or running or riding a bicycle. Trust me you will reap great benefits. It will not only improve your health, but also will make positive effect on your career and life,” he added.
For Daniel, 37, an experienced endurance sports athlete and coach, who lives in Qatar, the challenge might be easier than the one he conquered earlier this year, when he went around Qatar on foot, covering more than 477km.
“It will be different, and the goal will also be different, this time the aim is to give something back to the community. On Monday, we visited Ahmad Mansour School and Lycée Voltaire, it was a pleasure to see the kids so excited and engaged with our presentations. On Tuesday, at Al Khor International School, it was also a fantastic welcoming from the children. They were truly delighted to see us and to talk with us about road safety and they asked about each detail in the bicycle. It was a heart-warming moment for both Abdulla and me.”
Daniel, who met al-Hammadi in 2015 during a charity cycling ride in Europe, also see ‘Cycling Around Qatar’ as a demonstration of the good relations between France and Qatar.
“We are very close friends and this ride is like a bridge between the French and Qatari cultures. Both of our governments are also in good relations. This is a great symbol of what Qatar and France can be,” he added.
‘Cycling Around Qatar’ is sponsored and supported by Aspire Zone, Katara, Qatar Cycling Federation, Qatar Cyclists, Rasen Sports, MBM Transport, Q-Soft, and Silverfox Digital Communications.
Katara – the Cultural Village Foundation general manager Dr Khalid bin Ibrahim al-Sulaiti said, “We are proud to be sponsoring ‘Cycling Around Qatar’ and to see al-Hammadi and Daniel launching their ride from Katara. They have great goals, which are to raise awareness of road safety and an active lifestyle, and we fully believe in these goals and their positive effect on the community.”