Doha, Qatar: Qatar’s historic Asian Cup triumph on February 1 had made sure that 2019 National Sport Day would be an extra-special occasion and HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani’s gracious presence made Aspire Zone Foundation’s celebrations all the more so on Tuesday.
HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim visited Aspire Zone Foundation's Football Skills Development Center, played football with kids and also participated in different kinds of sports activities
He was also briefed on the facilities of the Centre and on the state-of-the-art technology used to train and develop the skills of its members.
HH the Emir’s Personal Representative Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani, FIFA President Gianni Infantino and other senior officials of the Qatar Football Association and Aspire Zone Foundation also took part in the celebrations.
Sheikh Jassim also took time to learn about Sambo – a Russian martial art – which was on display to the public on outdoor football pitch no 10. He was joined by the Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Qatar Nurmakhmad Kholov.
The biggest annual sports festival in Qatar saw thousands of people descend on Aspire Zone Foundation’s (AZF) unique outdoor and indoor facilities to explore and enjoy the wide range of activities offered by the beating heart of sport in Qatar and the place where the Asian Cup champions spent their formative years.
AZF’s National Sport Day (NSD) celebrations were attended by more than 30,000 people of all ages. Qatar’s community members, families and children enjoyed 30 sporting events across Aspire’s world-class venues: outdoor Football Pitch 10, Aspire Dome and Aspire park. Every corner of Aspire Zone was occupied with a sporting event.
Starting NSD with the Fun Run
Qatar’s NSD at Aspire begun with the famous Fun Run. The starting whistle was blown by Director General of Aspire Logistics, Abdullah Nasser Al Naemi in the presence of AZF’s CEO, Mohammed Khalifa Al Suwaidi who was accompanied by hundreds of running enthusiasts. The Fun Run covered an area of three kilometres around Khalifa International Stadium.
Aspire Zone: Qatar’s Sport Hub
Following the Fun Run, Aspire Zone’s staff participated in a walk around Aspire’s lake. It was headed by President of Aspire Zone Foundation, Hilal bin Jaham Al Kuwari, CEO of Aspire Zone Foundation, Mohammed Khalifa Al Suwaidi, Director General of Aspire Logistics, Abdulla Nasser Al Naemi, Deputy Director General of the Academy Ali Salem Afifa, and Acting CEO of Aspetar Abdelaziz Al Kuwari. The 2km walk around the lake included stops at various stations along the walk-pathway at which the officials conducted exercises that were led by professional trainers from Aspire Active.
AZF CEO Mohammad Khalifa Al Suwaidi said: “This year, we can clearly see the wisdom of the nation’s leaders in dedicating a national day for sport. February is now linked to sport victories after the amazing achievement of our national football team, which was of course led by Aspire academy graduates.
“The Qatari team has been making headlines across the world for the past few days. This indicates that the efforts of everyone at Aspire Zone have now paid off. This success is not only related to its state of the art facilities at Aspire but it is also due to the expertise of its staff who’ve invested a lot in building the current generation of Qatari champions. I expect that this generation will change the face of sport in Qatar and Asia.
Aspire Logistics Director General Abdulla Nasser Al Naemi commented: “What you see today in terms of good organisation, the variety of activities and dedication of all the logistical and human resources to serve our visitors is not accidental. It is a result of hundreds of hours of planning and preparation to organise this event in a way that reflects the place of Aspire Zone at the heart the community.”
Aspire Academy Deputy Director General Ali Salem Afifa said: "This year, the national sport day at Aspire Academy is unique and different from all the previous visions. This is because it coincides with our celebrations with the biggest victory in the history of sport in Qatar, the wining of the Asian Cup led by graduates of Aspire Academy. Everyone now wants to explore the academy and its programs and get to know the secret of the achievement made by our graduates. Thus, we expect to welcome a great number of fans who are eager to participate in our wide range of activities which reflect the variety of sports available at the academy. And perhaps the next Qatar star will be among our young visitors today!”
Aspetar’s Acting Director General Abdul Aziz Al Kuwari said: "There are unknown soldiers who worked day and night to deliver an amazing sport day at Aspire Zone. Similarly, Aspetar staff work behind the scene to help sport stars to perform at their best and allow them to unlock their potential. We are not only providing support to world-beating athletes, we are also raising people’s awareness about health. There is no better day than the national sport day to raise the awareness of our community.”
Nasser Abdullah Al Hajiri, the Chairman of AZF’s NSD Organising Committee, said: “Aspire Zone today has become a bee cell serving the Qatari community. Yet again it has opened its doors and facilities to all members of the community for them to learn about its capabilities and expertise, which are unrivalled anywhere in the world. I would like to thank the main sponsors of this year's events Qatar Gas and Ideal Solutions, as well as the event's partners: QAFAC, KidZania Doha, Assil, Ali Bin Ali Holding Group and Baladna.
New Russian sport a big hit on with the community
At football pitch number 10, the International Sambo Federation (FIAS) with general partner Rosneft, a leading Russian oil company, hosted a successful ‘Sambo’ Russian martial art event. It took place in the presence of the Ambassador of the State of Qatar to the Russian Federation, Fahad bin Mohammed Al Attiyah, the Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Qatar Nurmakhmad Kholov, and FIAS president Vasily Shestakov.
A world of family-friendly activities at football pitch 10
Careful planning was done since the very first day by the AZF’s NSD planning committee to ensure a dedicated ambience for families and children. A huge range of family-friendly activities took place around football pitch number 10. These included: wall climbing, Thai boxing, Taekwondo, boxing, high/low-intensity training sessions, fitness classes, Moroccan Sports Corner, team building activities, fitness shows and Japanese Kendo Demonstrations.
Female-only events at Aspire Dome
This year, AZF dedicated a secure and private sports zone for females only, held with an aim to consolidate a healthy and active lifestyle within the female community in Qatar regardless of their age.
Aspire Dome opened its doors for women and girls to participate in a variety of events in a fully covered hall, and activities included: gymnastics, badminton, basketball and aerobics.
Activities at Aspire Dome - challenge yourself
Aspire Dome hosted a variety of activities for families, including running, hammer throwing, plyometric challenges, and a 200-meter bike race. Such activities offer a diverse and rewarding set of challenges for all ages, increasing endurance, strength and flexibility.
Aspire Dome also witnessed a range of family fitness exercises that help people of different ages to strengthen their muscles. In addition, football players tested their skills such as shot accuracy and tackling the ball.
Local entities choose Aspire Zone as their preferred NSD celebration venue
AZF made its outdoor and indoor world-class facilities available to host more than 37 local government and private entities for their National Sport Day celebration. Organisations that have chosen Aspire Zone as their NSD partner this year include: The Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, National Human Rights Committee, Qatargas, Qatar Fuel Additives Company (QAFAC), General Administration for Drug Control from the Ministry of Interior, KEO international consultants, Gulf Laboratories, Al Taadhod Group, Ninja Vigor Sport Center, Kaged sports, Sports Corner, Ideal Solutions, Medgulf Construction, Electro City, and Planet Medical Center. In addition, a number of charitable entities and those dedicated to social causes also celebrated at Aspire – including Qatar Social Work Foundation, Qatar Institute for Speech and Hearing and Qatar’s Autism Centre & Special Needs.