With reporting from Chantelle D’mello
The fourth annual Qatar National Sport Day, aimed at encouraging residents to take up a more active and healthy lifestyle, will take place this Tuesday, Feb. 10.
The official holiday is held on the second Tuesday of February each year, and private and public organizations throughout Qatar put on dozens of events designed to get everyone, regardless of their age or fitness levels, off the sofa and into their trainers.
A full schedule of all the events can be found at sportday.qa, although the site is currently only in Arabic.
Here are some of the highlights of what’s taking place this week:
Qatar Olympic Committee’s Sports Village, next to the main post office on the Corniche, is one of the hubs for the event.
But you don’t need to wait until Tuesday to check it out, as it is open 3pm to 10pm in the run-up to NSD, and from 8am until 10pm on the public holiday.
More than 13 national sporting federations will be represented at the village, offering free activities and entertainment for every age and fitness level.
Experts will be on hand to offer tips and techniques in sports including handball, basketball, shooting, table-tennis and football. There will also be guidance on healthy eating and general wellness as this year’s winner of the BeFit Program is announced.
Other features include archery, larger-than-life chess and checker boards, beach volleyball, bowling, boxing and a large playground for children.
Bathrooms and prayer rooms have also been set up. Healthy food is on sale from Lulu, the Diet Shop and other eateries. Though parking is limited directly outside the venue, alternative parking is available in the big grounds opposite the post office.
Here’s a schedule of all the events planned in the run-up to Sport Day and the actual day:
Along with Aspire Academy, Aspetar and Aspire Logistics, Aspire Zone will host 12 different family sporting events. Full details of all events can be found here.
The 3km Fun Run will kick off from Khalifa International Stadium at 9am and snake around Aspire Zone’s venues. Organizers hope to beat last year’s figure of more than 2,000 participants.
A new Family Cycling initiative will also be launched by the Minister of Youth and Sport Salah bin Ghanem bin Nasser Al Ali and Aspire Zone Foundation CEO Khalid Abdullah Al Sulaiteen, on Sport Day at 10am.
The scheme offers four-set and two-seat bikes for all family members to cycle together around a dedicated lake path.
Meanwhile, Aspire Active’s instructors will run special fitness sessions for men and women separately on Tuesday. Women’s activities will be 8:45am to 1 pm, while men’s classes will take place at Aspire Active’s entrance from 9am to 1pm.
Additionally, Qatar’s first synchronized swimming classes will be held at Aspire Dome swimming pool, with two sessions. Girls aged 8 to 11 years old can attend at 9am, and girls aged 12 to 16 years old can show up at 3pm.
There will also be a beach soccer tournament at the sand pitch near pitch No. 6. Six to eight teams of five players will take part in the tournament, for males over 16 years of age. Teams willing to participate can go to the pitch and register.
Families are also invited to take part in Aspetar’s “5000-Step Journey,” a walk of about 40 minutes organized by which will run 1 to 4pm at the Torch Hotel and end at Aspire Dome.
The journey will go through 12 different points across Aspire Zone where participants will be given information and tips about health, proper nutrition and physical activity.
Parents are encouraged to pair up with their child for Fathers and Sons, and Mothers and Daughters events, including gymnastics competitions and racquet sports. Competitions involving mothers and daughter will take place at the gymnastics hall and MS3, while those involving fathers and sons will take place at the Squash hall and MS1. The activities run from 10am to 4pm.
Residents can also test running, jumping and throwing skills with the Break Your Records challenge. Held at the athletics track at 10 am you can explore your physical potential through a series of exercises designed to measure players’ performance.
Over 12s can improve their football skills with techniques to enhance shooting accuracy, speed and fitness at the indoor football pitch, running from 10am to 4pm.
There will be four different games for young children, including a wall climbing, 8am to 3:30pm in the open green area near pitch No. 5.
A football tournament for boys born 2003-2007 will take place from 9am-2pm at Aspire Academy’s outdoor pitches No. 3, 4 and 5.
In addition, more than 24 different private and government organizations will hold a mix of public and employee-only events at Aspire Zone.
Museum of Islamic Art Park
Competitions, children’s shows and exercise classes will be held at the Museum of Islamic Art Park on Tuesday from 9am to 4:30pm.
The Ooredoo-sponsored zone will also include a new “snow area” where people can have snowball fights and ride a snow slide. Children’s shows “Speed painting with Jean Francois” and Disney’s “Wish Upon a Dream” will be held throughout the day.
For the older crowd, there will be paintball and parkour, as well as “socializing stations” where people can take and post pictures to social media.
And finally, several football, shooting, land-rowing, arm wrestling and sumo wrestling tournaments will be held, as well as a family treasure hunt.
Note: Visitors are encouraged to park at the nearby Souq Waqif instead of inside the MIA parking lot:
— MuseumofIslamicArt (@MIAQatar) February 9, 2015
Up to 3,200 runners are expected to take part in the Dolphin Energy Doha Dash at the Losail International Circuit on Tuesday.
The event will feature a 5km run for over 12s, a 3km route for over 8s, a 1km children’s run and a 1km ladies’ walk. Registration is closed for the event, but fans are welcome to attend to cheer on participants. Find more information about the event here.
Numerous activities will be organized at The Pearl-Qatar for residents, staff and visitors. A Qatar Tourism Authority-sponsored walk on Porto Arabia Boardwalk will start at 8:30am, leaving from 7 La Croisette and finishing at 29 La Croisette.
Beach tennis competitions will run from 10am to 4:30pm at Lido Venezia Beach in Qanat Quartier, which will be open to free public registration. Participants can sign up to play by sending their names, email addresses and mobile numbers to [email protected].
Residents can also try their hand at sports including handball, volleyball, ping pong, billiards and bowling in the mosque parking lot near the Pearl Roundabout, from 8am to 5pm.
Katara Cultural Village will be hosting nearly 100 events on NSD. While some are dedicated to companies, many are open to the public.
Events start from 7:30am and feature classes run by sporting organizations including Qatar Basketball Federation, Qatar Weightlifting and Bodybuilding Federation, Qatar Tennis Association and Qatar Cycling Federation. View a full schedule of events here or below:
The Doha Film Institute will show the classic 1976 sports movie “Rocky,” starring Sylvester Stallone as a down-and-out boxer as part of its free, pop-up cinema events.
The film will be in English without Arabic subtitles and will start at 7pm at Katara’s Marina Park area, next to Katara’s main entrance at the St. Regis hotel.
Qatar Foundation is organizing a walk through Education City on the theme “Unlock your inner athlete,” starting from Al Shaqab Equestrian Center. It goes through West Green Spine, taking in a number of sporting tournaments and will also include interactive wheelchair basketball and special needs table tennis.
There are also dozens of fitness and sports classes on throughout the day, including boxercise, circuits, taekwondo, frisbee and gymnastics.
Residents over 12 years old are invited to take part in free, public Zumba classes at the Sheraton Hotel tennis courts on Tuesday.
Registration opens at 6:30pm and the class runs from 7 to 8:30pm. More details can be found online here.
What are your plans for NSD? Thoughts?