All photos by Chantelle D’mello; with reporting from Lesley Walker
Now in its fourth year, Qatar National Sport Day activities appear to be bigger than ever before – and more popular, despite dusty conditions. (Update: the weather has gotten worse as the afternoon goes on.)
At Katara Cultural Village, hundreds of people could be seen early this morning, taking advantage of spinning classes, tae kwon do and karate demonstrations.
A bodyweight lifting competition was also going on, and several health checkup camps have been set up in the beachfront area behind the amphitheater.
Meanwhile, at the Museum of Islamic Art Park, fat suit sumo wrestling, a mechanical bull, an “energy floor” that turns footsteps into electricity and free food boxes of bananas, apples, sandwiches and water were among some of the offerings.
There is also a snow zone, where workers could be seen pumping liquid nitrogen from tankers into the area to make actual cold snow, which was fashioned into a 4m slide and poured into tents.
Notably, parking at the MIA is closed so visitors will need to find spots on the Corniche or at the nearby Souq Waqif, which recently opened an additional underground parking lot.
Speaking of the Souq, Al Sharq is reporting that no shisha is being served there today, as part of efforts to keep people health-conscious on NSD.
Elsewhere in Qatar
For those on the other side of town at Aspire, hundreds of activities are going on, including a fun run this morning, swimming for children and an opportunity to make your own drink:
Make your juice, and drink it too. @Qatar_NSD at @aspirezone . #NSDAspire #QLSportsDay @qatarliving @dohanews pic.twitter.com/KN6H6ggBHM
— Greeker (@Greeeker) February 10, 2015
There was also ball-related fun to be had, on behalf of the Qatar Football Association:
ألعاب ترفيهية وفعاليات متنوعة لأسرة كرة القدم بمناسبة #اليوم_الرياضي #QFA pic.twitter.com/c3UvzH66U8
— الاتحاد القطري لكرة القدم 🇶🇦 (@QFA) February 10, 2015
This morning, government officials could also be seen getting in on the NSD action, with the Father Emir going for a stroll and the Minister of Youth and Sports taking a ride on a quad bike:
# سمو الامير الوالد يمارس رياضة المشي في #اليوم_الرياضي #قطر pic.twitter.com/yOojawKeUQ
— جاسم سلمان (@jassimsalman) February 10, 2015
الان : تدشين مشروع السياكل العائلية بحديقة اسباير
— وزارة الثقافة (@MOCQatar) February 10, 2015
At the malls, various events to mark NSD are going on:
Fun family activities at City Centre Mall! Share your pics or videos with us using #QLSportsDay and we will RT them. pic.twitter.com/FJRq4qtVhO
— Qatar Living (@qatarliving) February 10, 2015
And by sea, some Qatar residents also commemorated the day with a running competition:
Our employees on 9 offshore platforms are holding an inter-platform running competition for @Qatar_NSD pic.twitter.com/ZjPuMiBoET
— Maersk Oil Qatar (@MaerskOilQatar) February 10, 2015
Travelers also partook in NSD at the airport:
Our passengers enroute Japan participating in the #HIASportsDay activity booth! pic.twitter.com/LYMShqd6B0
— Hamad Int'l Airport (@HIAQatar) February 10, 2015
Here’s a guide to what’s going all around town for sport day.
In addition to a health focus, some Qatar activities this year emphasized the importance of female empowerment.
Double Olympic gold medalist Dame Kelly Holmes made an appearance this morning as an ambassador for the Dolphin Energy Doha Dash, and was on the starting line to wave at hundreds of children in the 1km fun run, as well as competing with runners in the 5km race in today’s event.
Speaking to Doha News yesterday, she said:
“Girls and women should be leading the way. If they want to have families in the future, for example, they need to be physically and mentally strong for that. They should get fit so they can get the best out of their lives and their children’s lives.”
The British middle distance former athlete, who won gold for 800m and 1,500m races in the 2004 Olympics in Athens, said her own inspiration came from a PE teacher at school.
“Although I wasn’t academic at school, my teacher’s support made me realize there were things I was good at, and it put me on a level playing field with my peers. Just having one person saying that I could to it, encouraging and mentoring me, meant a lot.”
Glad the weather held up well till 11.
However I do wish companies invest in health of their employees throughout the year and not on only 1 day in a year. Not expecting a GOOGLE office environment but a small gym in the office would do wonders.
We had a gym in my previous company and I can tell you not even 1% of staff bother to go.
The difference being, Google allows their employees to use these types of facilities (as well as game rooms, etc) DURING the work day. Not everyone is stimulated sitting in cubicles under flouro lights all day. The idea is to get employees together in environments that are stimulating and get them interacting with others across departments.
In Qatar if you hit the office gym, your manager might think you don’t have enough work and it might affect you negatively.
of course. because you’re the one supposedly doing their work
That only works when there is the threat of being fired. If the majority of staff are responsible enough to enjoy facilities and get work done then it is beneficial. The staff at places like google put in more than their eight hours but also don’t mind doing so. From what I have witnessed a lot of staff (both expats and qataris) leave exactly after their eight hours are done no matter what, some even earlier if they can get away with it. Is it the staff or the company at fault? Probably a bit of both. When a company doesn’t fire an unproductive employee he/she starts to contaminate by example. Others will then (rightly) think why should i work hard when he does nothing and we get the same salary and recognition.
People rarely go to the gym consistently unless really committed. A better idea would be to organise sports events for staff once or twice a month.
I don’t think it is the company’s role to take care and pay for the sport activities of their employees. Is this supposed to be part of the salary and benefits package?
Maybe it doesn’t do much to keep the population healthy but it provides an opportunity for a fun family/friends day out and bonding with your coworkers out of the office. Some companies wouldnt set up any kind of social event on their own as they penny pinch at the expense of staff wellbeing, but when it’s a national holiday they might feel the pressure to do something even if it’s for one day. I like the creativity of activities this year as well.
Homes really said that or was it scripted for her by the ministry of Islamic affairs?
Is family life for women an Islamic thing? Tell that to your mom
It gives the impression that is all women should aspire to. Stay at home drop babies and make sure you are fit enough to do it.
Sounds like it’s out of the mouth of an imam telling women what is best for then
To me it seems like she was trying to show a reason to be fit that would be most universal here (motherhood would be more than working). She was catering to her audience as a female athlete, she never said to stay home while raising a family. If she said you need to be fit so you can go to work that would be a joke.
Also I respect a mother who chooses to stay at home to take care of her children and nowadays it is looked down upon and seen as “doing nothing” or not having aspirations. Yet a woman who works and has a nanny is seen as not being a good mother or lazy. A woman balancing both has two “jobs” when the father usually just has his one formal job.