Posted on December 15, 2018

The second edition of Flag Relay wrapped up in style on Thursday following an extraordinary show of unity, pride and inspiration in celebration of the maroon flag and Qatar’s National Day. More than 1,000 people from all walks of life took part in Flag Relay 2018, including current and former Team Qatar athletes, ambassadors, diplomatic core, nearly 800 schoolchildren, 10 cancer survivors, as well as hundreds of participants from the public.

International football superstars Wesley Sneijder and Samuel Eto’o who ply their trade in Qatar were also part of Flag Relay, bringing a wealth of inspiration to the young participants and demonstrating the global status of Qatar as a sports pioneer. “Once again, we proved what this country is made of: pride, unity and strong resolve. People from all walks of life united for Qatar in a show of inclusiveness and multiculturalism that makes our country stand out. We couldn’t be prouder of our community and how everyone came together for Qatar,” HE Jassim Rashid Al Buenain, Secretary General of Qatar Olympic Committee said.

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Hundreds of participants exchanged the Qatari flag as it travelled through iconic landmarks around the country, starting from Team Qatar’s Winter Camp in Sealine and transporting it towards a grand finale at Aspire Park. The stops included Hamad International Airport, Museum of Islamic Art, Katara, The Pearl, Qatar University, Qatar Foundation, Sheraton Park, Lusail Marina, Al Thakhira Mangroves and Qatar Olympic Committee. Flag Relay 2018 stops were chosen wisely to include landmarks that reflect different aspects of life in Qatar such as culture, sport, entertainment, nature and environment.

Among the participants were several Team Qatar athletes who shared their pride to carry the flag with the whole nation. Team Qatar sprinter Mariam Farid was additionally excited to share her sport with the community while being one of the flagbearers. “This moment has an extra element of significance for me because not only did I proudly raise the flag of my beloved country together with Team Qatar athletes but also I got to do it whilst doing my favorite thing ever, which is running,” Farid said. “This is a great opportunity to introduce the community, especially women, to sport in general and running in particular and I’m really happy to see people from all ages and cultures practice my sport,” the 20-year-old Team Qatar athlete added.

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The flag’s journey around Qatar saw it travel through several different sports such as running, walking, swimming, cycling in addition to driving and flying. The day ended with celebrations at Aspire Park where a gathering of Team Qatar athletes, stakeholder of Qatar Olympic Committee and the public came together to watch the finale. HE Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al-Thani, President of Qatar Olympic Committee, handed the flag to Team Qatar athletes who passed it on to each other before a trio of athletes collectively hoisted it.

Two-time Olympic medalist Mutaz Barshim; Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdullah Al-Thani, the first Qatari to summit Everest; and Team Qatar’s squash player Abdulla Al Tamimi were the three athletes making the final act as Flag Relay 2018 came to an end after uniting a nation and inspiring solidarity and hope. In its second edition, Flag Relay was an occasion for the different segments of society, including citizens and residents, to unite behind Qatar’s flag, express solidarity and pride and show what the country means for its people.