Posted on November 30, 2016

In preparation for ‘Qatar’s Strongest Man’ competition, now in its fourth year, Aspire Zone Foundation organised a technical meeting on Tuesday for participants to provide an overview of the rules for the competition. This year’s event will be held on December 2nd, from 3:00 pm to 8:00 pm at Aspire Park.

Mr. Abdullah Al Khater, Events Manager at Aspire Zone Foundation congratulated the 14 participants for successfully qualifying for the final round of the competition after passing a series of rigorous medical tests. “Qatar’s Strongest Man” has grown in popularity year on year, with the 2016 competition recording the highest number of participants to date. As such, two categories have been created: one for Qatari competitors and one for expats and GCC visitors who want to participate.

During the technical meeting, Mr. Abdullah Al Khater advised participants to take care of themselves and avoid over-exertion to prevent injuries, commenting that “Aspire Zone Foundation considers participant safety to be an utmost priority. Being thoroughly prepared both mentally and physically is crucial ahead of the competition. We have carefully monitored competitors’ preparedness in this regard during the qualifying rounds.” Participants looking to win the title of “Qatar Strongest Man” must successfully complete five challenges, each of which has its own rules. The first stage is “truck pulling”, a challenge in which competitors are given one chance to pull a truck over a finishing line using a harness, and to do so within a three minute deadline. The time count starts as soon as the truck crosses the designated start line. Points will be awarded to competitors based on the distance and time travelled.

The second stage is “sand bag lifting”, in which competitors must lift sand bags off the ground and place them on top of a platform five metres away from the start line. Once one sand bag is moved to the platform, the competitor must move on to the next bag. The challenge is completed and a competitor’s time recorded once all bags have been placed on the multiple platforms, each of which is set at varying heights. If a competitor is unable to complete the challenge within the allocated time of five minutes, he is awarded points based on the number of bags that have been successfully lifted.

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The third stage is “giant wheel flipping.” In this challenge, participants must travel a distance of 25 metres, all the while flipping a 120kg tyre until they cross a finishing line. They have three minutes to complete the challenge, and the timer will stop once the tyre touches the finish line. In the event that the tyre steers away from its designated path, participants are permitted to steer it back. In cases where competitors are unable to complete the challenge, points will be awarded based on the distance travelled and time recorded.

The fourth stage is “heavy weight lifting” during which athletes must walk a distance of 23 metres while lifting heavy weights on each arm, and then slowly place them on the ground after crossing the finish line. The fastest participant to cross the finish line scores the most points and wins the challenge. Referees will disqualify any participant that doesn’t comply with the rules by, for example, running or throwing weights across the finish line in an attempt to complete the challenge more quickly. If the weight is dropped midway, participants are permitted to pick it up and continue.

The fifth and final stage is “car lifting.” In this challenge, competitors must lift a stationary car from a fixed position as many times as possible within a two-minute timeframe. Each lift must last for a minimum of three seconds, during which competitors must maintain a good posture keeping legs, arms and back straight. Aspire Zone has allocated two referees for this challenge – one to record the time and the other to count the number of successful attempts. First, second and third places will be awarded to competitors in each category based on who has the highest number of points across all five challenges. If two competitors are tied in terms of number of points, they will participate in a deadlift challenge.

Speaking on the sidelines of the meeting, defending champion Fahad Al Maadid, competing in the Qatari category, said: “I have come into this competition with a fresh perspective and have focused on my mental strength and preparedness. I have taken a different approach to my training this year and I’m expecting to perform much better than I did previously, and hoping for a strong finish. I wish all the other competitors the best of the luck.”

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Another competitor in the same category, Thamer Al Kuwari, who finished fifth last year, added: “I’ve very much been looking forward to competing again and registered as soon as it was announced on Aspire Zone Foundation’s social media platforms. I’m thrilled to have qualified for the final rounds. The preparatory challenges were rigorous but it was very rewarding to take part and I’ve pushed myself to exceed my personal best. My training has focused on the two factors that will make all the difference in this competition – speed and endurance.”

He added: “My earlier participation in another major event at Aspire, the Aspire Torch Staircase Run, was an incredibly positive experience and I have closely following the range of activities organised by the Foundation ever since. We are truly grateful for Aspire Zone Foundation’s continued efforts at engaging the local community in various sporting events.” Participants in the expat category comprise local, regional and international competitors. First-time participant Ricky Ferreira from Portugal said: “I expect the competition to be challenging, but I’m very excited by the prospect of taking part. Aspire Zone Foundation has demonstrated considerable logistical capabilities in this competition. It’s nice to see so many strength training enthusiasts under one roof.”

In addition, Mohammed Dweidar from Egypt, said: “To me, every participant that has successfully reached this stage is already a champion.” As with other competitors, Dweidar has focused his training on speed and endurance. Finally, Kenyan participant Mishak Ibola, who previously took part in 2014, said: “I expect this year’s competition to be more challenging, given the quality of the other participants.” The competition is scheduled to take place in the Aspire Park car park area, opposite Outdoor Pitch Number 10, from 3:00 – 8:00 pm, on Friday, December 2nd. Entry is free for all attendees.

Aspire Zone Foundation has organised a series of community activities for all family members to enjoy as they watch participants compete in a set of physical challenges in hopes of winning the “Qatar’s Strongest Man” title.