In a statement, Khalifa al-Sewaidi, the president of the Qatar Sailing and Rowing Federation (QSRF) and commodore of the DSC, said that the move to Katara was part of a plan to expand and offer sailing aficionados the “best possible experience.”
According to sources close to the DSC, the 58-year-old club was given a month to vacate its premises near the Doha Marriott Hotel because the government needed the land for a development project.
Following the announcement, the club ceased sailing activity from Oct. 26, but are due to resume at their new location.
News of the closing sparked heated comments from Qatar residents, many of whom criticized the lack of an alternative venue, and the abrupt notice.
“Planning ahead and getting a new location agreed prior to forcing a closure would have been an intelligent approach,” said one resident on Facebook.
Another commenter said:
“Well, we’re used to the government here either deliberating for years or making…abrupt decision like this, but it’s a shame as this is one of the gulf’s oldest and most active sailing clubs. Not sure how DSC is structured, but this would suggest that the committee / management had no-one close to anyone with wasta or they wouldn’t have been blindsided with this and would at a minimum have a plan of action to put to the members.”
The club’s 250-some members can sail, row and canoe on rented or personally-owned boats, as well as receive training and enter competitions.
Founded in 1956 with the aim of promoting sailing locally while training and improving sailor skills, the DSC is one of the oldest communal groups in Qatar.
Though the QSRF previously used the QSC’s premises as a venue for their activities, the closure of the former location does not appear to have slowed it down.
The rowing federation is going ahead with plans to host the first Formula Kite Course Racing Asian Championships, a competition featuring athletes from 26 countries competing for a prize of QR100,000, from Nov. 10 to 15 at the Pearl-Qatar.
The QSC will ultimately relocate to the under-construction Lusail City, an ongoing project that covers 38 square kilometers and consists of four exclusive islands and 19 multi-purpose residential, mixed use, entertainment as well as commercial districts along with leisure spots, commercial towers and ports.
No date for that move has been set, however.