Browsing 'aspire' News

Peter Lynn Kites/Facebook

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Thirteen teams from around the world will compete in Qatar’s inaugural international kite festival next week.

The event run daily from noon to 7pm at Aspire Park, from Tuesday, April 25 to Saturday, April 29.

Professional kite flyers from Australia, Canada, Colombia, France, Indonesia, Italy, Kuwait, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, the UK, the US and Vietnam will be in town for the competition.

Amateurs will also be able to get their hands on a kite during public flying sessions, as well as for lessons on building, decorating and handling kites.

What’s on

According to Aspire’s event schedule, the festival includes workshops, arts and crafts activities and competitions.

Aspire Zone

Kite festival program

In addition to kite-related activities, there will be food trucks and roaming entertainers, and an F1 simulator.

Entry to the event is free, and it’s open to all ages.


Organizers are also offering prizes for three separate competitions inspired by the event.

Peter Lynn Kites/Facebook

For illustrative purposes only.

The first is a kids’ poster competition.

Children up to the age of 10 years old can go to the Arts & Crafts station, where they will be asked to draw a poster showing their kite flying in Aspire Park.

The artwork will be posted onto @aspirezone, the official Instagram account. Creators of the top 10 most liked images will receive gifts from Festival sponsor Kiddy Zone. 

The second is a photo competition.

Visitors are being asked to upload a photo to social media taken during the event, using the hashtag #AspireKitePhoto.  

First place winners will receive two business class return tickets to any Qatar Airways destination, while second place will receive two economy class return tickets on Qatar Airways to any of its destinations. Third and fourth place winners will receive equipment from Nikon. 

Fatimah Ashraf Khan

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Finally, there will be a Schools Competition. 

Teams of at least 10 members from any school in Qatar can enter the competition by registering their name until April 24 with Aspire, with the competition taking place on April 28 and April 29 in front of judges.

Each team must create and decorate kites following specific guidelines. Cash prizes will be awarded to the top three winning teams, with first place winning QR30,000, second place QR20,000 and third place QR10,000.

For more details on all three competitions, see here.

Do you plan to check the festival out? Thoughts?

All photos courtesy of FC Bayern

Some of the best-known names in European football are in Doha this month as players, coaches and officials from Germany’s FC Bayern Munich return for the team’s winter training camp.

A total of 29 players – including captain Philipp Lahm, forwards Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Müller, midfielder Xabi Alonso and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer – arrived on Wednesday evening for an intensive week of training at Aspire Academy.

So far this season, Lewandowski has already scored a total of 23 goals in 26 matches, with Müller just trailing him with 21 goals.

FC Bayern training at Aspire - Jan. 2016

FC Bayern/Facebook

FC Bayern training at Aspire – Jan. 2016

Fans of the team will have the chance to meet World Cup winners Müller, Lahm and Alonso when they visit the Adidas store in Villaggio mall today (Jan. 10), from 1:50pm until 2:30pm.

Joining them in training in Qatar are four players who are still hoping to make a come-back from injuries – Franck Ribéry, Mario Götze, David Alaba and Mehdi Benatia.

Meanwhile, traveling with the team are some younger players who show promise, including 17-year-olds Niklas Dorsch, Fabian Benko and Marco Friedl, 19-year-old Miloš Pantovic, and keeper Christian Früchtl, the 15-year-old member of the club’s Jugendhaus youth center.

Founded in 1900, FC Bayern is the most successful club in German football, and is currently leading the German Bundesliga by eight points.

The team has not formally issued its training schedule for their duration in Qatar.

However, the players could be spotted this week being put through the paces by renowned manager Pep Guardiola each morning and again during late afternoons and early evenings at the open-air grounds near the Grand Heritage Hotel.

Guardiola is set to leave the team at the end of the season, after announcing his decision last month. He will be replaced by Carlo Ancelotti, who previously managed Real Madrid, Paris Saint Germain, Chelsea, AC Milan and Juventus.

‘Fantastic conditions’

Though the team took to the field almost immediately after arriving, some players still found time to chat with waiting fans and pose for photographs.

The club has been posting prolifically on its social media sites about the training sessions, as the team uses their week in Qatar to get into peak fitness ahead of the restart of the German Bundesliga. An away match with Hamburger SV is set for Jan. 22.

“We have to get every single player into the best possible form as soon as possible. That’s the motto from today on,” sporting director Matthias Sammer said following the team’s first two training sessions on Thursday, according to FC Bayern’s website.

This is the sixth year in a row that FC Bayern has chosen Qatar as a winter training session spot.

Sammer described Aspire Academy as having “fantastic conditions,” adding: “Fitness rooms, weight rooms, opportunities for regeneration, short distances: everything’s perfect.”

The squad will be in Qatar until Tuesday (Jan. 12), and will then return to Munich, according to the schedule on the club website.

Do you plan to watch them train? Thoughts?


Al Kass Cup

The third annual Al Kass International Cup enters its fifth day today, with a dozen under-16 teams from high-profile football clubs competing at Aspire Academy for some $248,000 in prize money.

The 10-day tournament, which runs until Jan. 23, features local teams from Aspire International and Aspire Qatar, who will face international counterparts Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Brazil’s Fluminense.

Newcomers include Manchester City, FC Porto, AC Milan, FC Barcelona, Auxerre, Japan’s Kashiwa Reysol, and Chicago Fire – the first team from the US to compete in the tournament.

The participating teams will be divided into four groups of three, with the top two teams from each group qualifying for the quarterfinals to compete for the top prize of $75,000. Prizes of up to $3,000 for the most valuable player and best goalkeeper of the tournament are also up for grabs.

Prizes for fans

The matches are open to the public, and fans who turn out can compete to win prizes worth some $5,000. For each day of the tournament, two winners will be chosen in the categories of the best fan banner and outfit. In addition, department store 51 East will give away 10 PlayStation 4 consoles during a raffle at the closing ceremony of the tournament.

Speaking to Doha News, an Al Kass Cup spokesman said:

“We have 11 teams from around the world, Real Madrid…..(all the others) and also two teams from Qatar, Aspire and Aspire International. So if you love football, you can come to watch these teams.”

Matches start at 3:30pm and are held on the outdoor football pitches in Aspire. Here’s the full schedule.

Players in the youth league sometimes go on to compete on an adult level. Football prodigies such as Adrien Rabiot-Provost of France, who plays as a midfielder for PSG and Kingsley Coman, who went onto become the youngest player in PSG’s history that same year, have both competed for the Al Kass Cup.

As Qatar is gearing up for the 2022 World Cup, initiatives like this help to promote the country as a first-class footballing nation, according to Hassan Al Thawadi, Secretary General of the 2022 Supreme Committee.

“We have already seen players from previous Al Kass tournaments represent their country internationally, so there is a strong possibility that some of this year’s participants will be back for the World Cup in 2022,” he said in a statement.

Are you planning to attend the matches? Thoughts?