Samla race is an extreme sports event, meant for those athletes with an adventurous spirit, willing to endure along the 200 km trek that comprises running, swimming kayaking, shooting…Around 200 Qatari athletes joined the adventure, opting for the 500,000 QAR first prize awards.
The race was held in the desert starting from Sealine region and ending in Al Jamiliyah town and had a time limit of 96 hours. Every 10 kms there was a check point that included referees, medics and water supplies and every approx. 50 Kms a main camp to provide athletes with replacements and rest areas.
For the first time ever, all athletes were monitored thanks to the joint effort of Aspire Foundation (AZF) and Ooredoo, by providing an app that tracked automatically all the runners, specifying their exact position, their speed, their heart rate and other vitals. The app also offered the possibility to send automatically an ambulance in case the vitals of a runner were detected to be reaching dangerous levels. Athletes had also the possibility to request for support of any kind (medical assistance, water etc). A fleet of ambulances and water supply vehicles were constantly moving along the track and, thanks to the GPS constantly updated of each athlete, they were able to get to the exact location of the runner in no time to provide assistance.
The organising committee CEO, Azzam Abdulaziz Al Mannai said, “The technology support extended by Aspire Zone Foundation and Ooredoo has played a significant role in the success of this year’s Samla Race and we thank both organizations for their relentless support. With the help of the Samla Race App and the Command Center support solutions, the organizing committee members in coordination with the emergency support team were able to ensure that any health risks to the participants were avoided by closely monitoring their heart rate and location in real time and appropriate response measures taken in timely manner as required, as he also emphasized on the the security and safety of the contestants as a top priority”
The App fully developed in-house by Aspire Zone Foundation IT Team showcased Qatar’s ability to deploy world class technology solutions for Sports and was an extension of the technical capabilities being utilized in Aspire Academy, member organization of AZF, for Athlete Performance monitoring and analysis.
Mohammed Khalifa Al-Suwaidi, the CEO of Aspire Zone Foundation said “We are excited to see AZF’s technical capabilities being extended to support such sporting events in the country as our commitment to become the reference for sports excellence world-wide and as a testimony to the emergence of Qatar as a Sporting Nation.” Al-Suwaidi added: “Our joint efforts with Ooredoo are a clear demonstration of our Aspire Way Values represented in innovation, professionalism and team work. We look forward to further fruitful cooperation towards utilising latest technologies to support sports development.”
Cellular coverage along the track was provided by the Ooredoo Supermet. Given the difficulty of the terrain and the remoteness, new infrastructure had to be deployed in little time. In addition to that, the app and the data from all the athletes were safely kept and managed at Ooredoo’s advanced Data Centre in Doha. Talking about the partnership: Waleed Al-Sayed, Chief Executive Officer, Ooredoo Qatar: “Ooredoo worked hard to provide the most reliable and strongest network possible, to help keep participants safe and connect them to the services they need in real-time. Once again, we’ve demonstrated that we have the best solutions and network to help connect Qatar’s sporting events and we hope to work with Aspire Zone Foundation again to develop more innovative technology to aid sports in Qatar.”
This is another example of the innovation developed in Qatar, and the prominent role our country is playing in the sports industry. Never before athletes were tracked with such an innovative system, that not only provided support and comfort, but also guaranteed the security of all the participants. In a joint statement issued by Aspire Zone Foundation and Ooredoo both entities expressed their commitment to work together and bring the best of the two organizations technical capabilities to support the growth of the Country’s Sports Sector.