By Nicola Milan, Doha, Feb 13, 2018: The unique power of sport to unite, inspire and connect has been shared with all Qatari residents as 2018 Qatar NATIONAL SPORT DAY (NSD) brought the nation together through sporting celebrations across the country on 13th February.
The Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) joined forces with its national federations to organise multiple activities that spread the fun and excitement of participating in sport amongst people of all ages and abilities. Thousands of people visited the Team Qatar Village in the heart of the Aspire Park, where Qatar’s sporting champions were on hand to provide tips, demonstrations and motivation.
Established in 2012 as a public holiday to share and celebrate Qatar’s passion for sport and promote the importance of sport being an integral part of everyday life, the seventh edition of NSD has once again increased in strength and popularity as all corners of Qatar came alive through sport.
In addition to the Aspire Park, the public were able to try new sports, pick up old ones and discover new talents at key hubs in Katara, Al Shaqab, Lusail, the Qatar Women’s Sport Committee and the Qatar Paralympic Committee, with a total of 72 events taking place around the country.
Schools across Qatar also partnered with the Qatar School Sport Federation to stage fun and educational activities for their students of all ages.
President of the QOC, H.E. Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani, and Secretary General, H.E. Jassim Al Buenain participated in the Team Qatar Village activities with athletes and children as part of a tour of all the national federation activities around Qatar. Commenting on National Sport Day, H.E. Shk Joaan said:
“We are proud that Qatar is one of the only countries in the world and the first in the Middle East to dedicate a public holiday to National Sport Day.
This year, the Qatar Olympic Committee has organised 72 sporting activities around Qatar for all ages and abilities as part of our vision and commitment to ensuring everyone has the opportunity to participate in sport.”
He continued, “Once again, National Sport Day has provided a unique platform to inspire and unite our nation through sport and share the Olympic spirit in one place. This year we’ve been committed to putting excitement and enjoyment at the heart of all the sporting activities on offer.
We are determined to see an increase in physical activity in our country, not simply on the basis of the number of people taking part, but because of the wider value it will have for our collective health, wellbeing and happiness, as individuals and as a society.”
He finished, “It has also been wonderful to see so many Team Qatar athletes participating in our activities with the public today. Their achievements are an inspiration to our nation and they are excellent role models for our young people.”
The QOC last year launched a refreshed sporting vision that aims to increase community participation in sport, spread the Olympic values and produce more sporting champions. With 14 different sports in one area, the Team Qatar Village was able to promote multiple sports by providing taster sessions, competitive activities and coaching support, whilst spotting new talent and identifying Qatar’s potential future sporting champions.
Sports on offer included gymnastics, athletics, fencing, weightlifting, wrestling, boxing, taekwondo, judo, basketball, tennis, squash, sailing, kayaking, volleyball, hockey, rugby, cricket, table tennis, golf and school sports.
In Katara, a range of further activities were on offer including handball, equestrian, rowing, cycling, triathlon, air sports, karate, chess and rugby, whilst a swimming open day took place at Hamad Aquatic Centre.
Qatar’s current sporting heroes joining in the fun included members of Qatar’s 2018 Asian Championship winning handball team, Kamal Mallash, Abdulrazzaq Murad and Ahmed Maddady, gymnastics superstars Ahmed Nabil who competed in last year’s World Championships and 2014 Youth Olympian, Nadine Wahden, 3×3 basketball legend and 2014 World Champion, Yassin Ismail, and two-time World Junior Champion and senior world silver medallist in weightlifting, Fares Ibrahim.
Commenting on his participation, Fares Ibrahim said: “I joined Team Qatar today to teach people more about weightlifting, which is one of the oldest sports in history and to let them, especially the children, try this sport and discover their talent in it.”
Meanwhile, Yaseen Ismail said:
“We are proud as athletes that we have a special day for sport and I thank Qatar for establishing National Sport Day, where we can enjoy so many fun activities. Sport is not only about physical activity, it is a lifestyle and I encourage people to keep practicing sport even after National Sport Day is over.
I was so happy to see so many children playing basketball and I encourage everyone to take up this sport because it is fun and easy. I also would like to thank the QOC for organising the Team Qatar Village which offered so many fun activities for everyone in the Aspire park.”
The highlight of the Team Qatar Village was a gymnastics activation in the centre of the zone, which shined a spotlight on the Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in October, the first time that the flagship event will come to the Middle East in its history.
Team Qatar’s gymnasts wowed the public with their amazing skills and provided an insight into what can be expected when incredible gymnasts from around the world descend on Doha’s iconic Aspire Dome later this year.
Speaking ahead of his participation in this year’s world-class gymnastics events, Ahmed Nabil, who at just 17 was the youngest of all competitors at last year’s World Championships in Montreal, said: “I came today to encourage everyone to try gymnastics because it improves the flexibility of the mind and body. We are preparing now to compete in the Artistic Gymnastics World Cup in March and Artistic Gymnastics World Championships in October, both of which will be hosted in the Aspire Dome.
I encourage everyone to come and support our team at these major championships.”