Saturday, September 20, 2014

Sports and Athletics

Despite the weather as an ever present challenge to being physical, Qatar and nearby nations of the UAE, United Arab Emirates, love sports, games and many forms of competition. In January, Dubai hosts a marathon.  Also in the winter, Qatar offers the ExxonMobilOpen and the Total Open to the tennis community.  Camel and horse racing are popular sports.  Saudia Arabia's King's Cup camel race is the countries largest yearly event.  In horse racing, the Dubai World Cup horse race is a major event on the social calendar.  This race is by invitation only.  Qatar holds the Emir's Sword Race, another key international horse race. 

Qatar values its athletes and sports so much so that it has a National Sports Day with the
vision to "To adopt the best practices and means in promoting the practice of sport and physical activities among members of the society." To me it sound a lot like an enormous version of Field Day which we had in school.  There is a large variety of events featuring lots of sports and games.  Unlike many sporting events where the public is the audience this day encourages people to be active themselves.   It must be intentional that the logo looks like it could be for the Olympics. National Sports Day even has an Sports Village just like the Olympic Village.  As part of events there is a 5k run and 1k walk called the Doha Dash

Doha, Qatar is eager to host the Olympics.  There is a major campaign to have the Summer Games 2024 held in Qatar.  Until then Qatar will be hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup for Soccer and 2014 FINA World Swimming Championships.  Soccer, or football, is the most popular sport in Qatar, followed by handball and cricket.

Qatar hosts races and marathons. It is also home to many running clubs. The Ooredoo Marathon has previously attracted more than 1,500 athletes from nearly 90 countries.  Tri, Bi and Duathalons are also becoming a more commons occurrence.  TriClub Doha was recently formed to prepare athletes for these challenges.  Check them out on Twitter



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