Posted on February 14, 2017

Large crowds enjoyed a refreshing experience due to the cooler weather during National Sport Day celebrations in Aspire Zone this year. A number of prominent officials and dignitaries attended on the day to show their support for the development of sports and sporting activity in the country. These included the Minister of Culture and Sports, HE Salah bin Ghanem Al Ali, popular former Qatari athlete Captain Talal Mansour, and several of Qatar’s most promising young Olympians.

Prominent figures joined large crowds to mark National Sport Day at Aspire Zone

Commenting on the celebrations at Aspire Zone, the Minister of Culture and Sports HE Mr. Salah bin Ghanem Al Ali, said: “Members of the community in Qatar are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of sports and the advantage of regular exercise, as highlighted by a number of recent studies that we have conducted with Qatar University. Through initiatives such as National Sport Day, it is clear that Qatar is making good progress in promoting physical activity amongst all members of the community.”

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He added: “Aspire Zone Foundation has played an important role in supporting this success, by increasing community participation and involvement in sport through its various activities. The organisation is making good progress in promoting active lifestyles and working closely with its partners to support the development of sport in the country.”

Accompanying the Minister on his visit around Aspire Zone, Mr. Mohammad Khalifa al-Suwaidi, CEO of Aspire Zone Foundation, said: “The celebrations this year lived up to expectations thanks to the collective experience and expertise of Aspire Zone Foundation and its member organisations – Aspire Academy, Aspetar and Aspire Logistics. Together they offered rich and varied programmes of activities for people of all ages. There were many highlights this year, including Aspire Academy’s Football Performance and Science activities, Aspetar’s Nordic Walk and 5,000 Step Journey, as well as several community programmes by Aspire Logistics.”

He continued: “Aspire Zone staff did a great job accommodating visitors’ needs on the day and made the most of the cooler weather in the morning. Our wide range of events reflect Aspire Zone Foundation’s mission to promote sporting activity and provide a range of activities for all members of the community, in line with Qatar’s National Vision 2030.”

Mr. Mohammad Khalifa Al-Suwaidi, then led a group of AZF’s senior leadership team as they participated in the ‘Aspire Staff Walk’, joining colleagues from across the organisation in Aspire Dome in support of the aims of National Sport Day. The group included Mr. Abdulla Nasser Al Naemi, Director General of Aspire Logistics, Mr. Ivan Bravo, Director General of Aspire Academy and Dr. Mohammed Ghaith Al-Kuwari, Acting Director General of Aspetar.

Describing his involvement, Mr. Abdulla Nasser Al Naemi, Director General of Aspire Logistics said: “The atmosphere in Aspire today is great. Everyone is clearly excited to be taking part in the celebrations. We’re very happy to see so many people here, and the size of the crowd has exceeded expectations. We sincerely hope that their involvement in National Sport Day inspires people to adopt physical activity as part of their daily routine.” Mr. Ivan Bravo, Director General of Aspire Academy, also commented: “Everyone in the country now looks forward to National Sport Day. People want to come out, to participate and to be active and engaged. It’s become a key date in the calendar and people want to be involved every year. Even outside of Qatar, people are talking about the fact that Qatar has a National Sport Day.”

Community members enjoyed exercise in Qatar’s cool weather

The morning activities kicked off with the annual ‘Fun Run’ event, where large numbers of people of all ages, including some of Qatar’s national Olympic athletes such as Abderrahman Samba, Mabrook Saleh, and Idris Mousa, took part. Visitors to Aspire were as diverse as they have ever been, with all sections of the community represented. Qatari nationals participated in a range of activities alongside the country’s expat residents. Activities organised by AZF demonstrate how sport can bring people together across all backgrounds, nationalities and ages and build bridges of understanding between cultures.

Around Aspire Park, health and wellness experts offered advice and recommendations on leading a healthy lifestyle at education stations staffed by experts from the Namat physical activity and health education programme. Elsewhere in Aspire Dome, activities included Beat the Champion, Multi-sport skill development and Football Performance & Science. People of all ages and backgrounds took part in the events together, clearly enjoying the occasion. Large numbers of professionally trained coaches from Aspire Academy were on hand to offer encouragement to all those taking part and cheer them on.

The reaction across Aspire Zone was enormously positive. Many of the people attending the day’s celebrations highlighted their determination to keep fit and active throughout the year, and to take advantage of the world-class facilities and infrastructure available at Aspire Zone. There was widespread appreciation for the lengths that Aspire Zone Foundation goes to in order to encourage active, healthy lifestyles.

Abdulaziz Al Raeesi, a Qatari national attending National Sport Day said: “The activities here at the Aspire Dome today are excellent, and everything is very well organised. The highlight for me has been the bike simulation, and the chance to use advanced technology to measure my strength. My children also really enjoyed the ‘Beat the Champion’ activity and the running speed test in particular.”

Salwa Helmy from Egypt said: “I’m here today with my entire family and we are really enjoying it so far. The activities available are fantastic. We actually come every year and it’s always an excellent day out. We choose to come to Aspire because it offers something for everyone and a wide range of activities that are suitable for people of all ages. There are a wide variety of sports available, which my kids really enjoy. It has everything we need in one place and it’s all really well organised.”

Anes Huwaidi, from Libya said: “I’ve come to the National Sport Day celebrations at Aspire with my friends. It’s a really nice atmosphere here. The activities are fun and everything is very well organised. The biggest highlight for me has been the vertical jump – I’ve got the highest score so far!”

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Describing her involvement in the 5,000 steps activity Esraa Ellaithy said: “This was a great experience, especially in this amazing weather. I got to spend two hours with my sister and my two year-old niece who was really keen to participate. She rode her bicycle most of the distance and walked the last few steps. The thing we like most about coming to Aspire Zone is the chance to try new activities for the first time. I’d like to thank Aspire Foundation for the excellent organisation and easy access to the great facilities.”

Describing her involvement in the Nordic Walk, Bama Manjonath said: “This is the first time that I’ve tried Nordic Walking and I’m very happy that I took part because I really enjoyed it and I hope that it I continue to do after National Sport Day. I decided to take part after reading about this activity in the local newspaper and being really encouraged by the many benefits that it offers. Aspetar’s coaches have helped introduce the sport in an easy and simple way.”

Prominent figures joined large crowds to mark the occasion of National Sport Day at Aspire Zone

National Sport Day 2017 provides further proof of Aspire Zone Foundation’s success in organising large-scale events in Qatar and highlights the organisation’s ability to bring together people from different backgrounds and nationalities in a celebration of the country’s diversity. This year’s activities lived up to expectations thanks to thorough, meticulous and precise preparations and planning. The experience and expertise of the MOs – Aspire Academy, Aspetar and Aspire Logistics – were crucial in ensuring the success of the rich and varied programme of activities.