PEOPLE’S relationship to their heritage is considered the same as that of a child to its mother. Those without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.
It’s with an aim to keep our traditions alive that the wise leadership of our country is extending wholehearted support to traditional sports like camel racing, dhow boat racing, pearl diving, kite flying etc, even at a time when austerity measures are adopted across other disciplines.
Sports is an integral part of any community, but in a society like ours, which is in transition in more ways than one, there’re only few takers for disciplines like golf, tennis, cycling etc. Despite spending huge money in organising international events, we haven’t been able to attract many Qatari youngsters to these sports.
On the contrary, some of those traditional competitions, which may have only recreational and leisure value but strongly linked to our heritage, attract a lot more people.
The active and passive participation of a sizeable number of Qataris in camel racing, dhow boat racing etc goes to prove that many people still love to stay connected with their cultural heritage and identity.
Taking part in these kinds of events may have only a limited effect vis-a-vis international competitions, but such activities can definitely generate many positive results in the community.
Organisers of fun activities, like the recent kite festival, Koora Time initiative and 12th player tournament, also need to be appreciated. These events have generated tremendous interest among the communities in Qatar and could serve as an ideal platform to engage them in future as well.
According to Qatar camel racing committee chief Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Faisal Al Thani, the sport has steadily grown in popularity and the just-concluded season witnessed an unprecedented level of participation and competition.
That the Emir HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani himself turned up on the opening day of the recent Challenge Festival goes to prove the importance our leaders have attached to this sport. They’ve indeed sent out a strong message — that when it comes to events that’re closely linked to our tradition and culture, money isn’t an issue. The whopping prize money on offer at this season’s camel races stands testimony to this.