Participants of Qatar Foundation’s annual walkathon explore Education City on National Sport Day
Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science, and Community Development (QF), participated in QF’s 2016 National Sport Day celebrations at Education City today.
Her Excellency Sheikha Hind bint Hamad Al Thani, Vice-Chairperson of Qatar Foundation, also attended the National Sport Day festivities.
Under the theme of ‘Unlock Your Inner Athlete’, this year’s event featured over 60 different activities designed to encourage healthier, more active lifestyles. The event reflects QF’s commitment to creating and shaping a healthy, physically active society, while inspiring Qatari citizens to make positive, long-lasting changes in-line with the Qatar National Vision 2030 (QNV2030).
Kicking off the day’s activities, Her Highness Sheikha Moza, along with Her Excellency Sheikha Hind, His Excellency Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, and His Excellency Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, launched the overwhelmingly-popular annual walkathon.
Hosted by Sidra Medical and Research Center, the 3km walkathon commenced outside Hamad bin Khalifa University’s (HBKU) Student Center. Participants were given the opportunity to explore the sprawling campus, while the route weaved past Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar, Texas A&M University at Qatar, and Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, as well as QF’s state-of-the-art Headquarters building. The walkathon concluded in the brand-new Oxygen Park.
Commenting on this occasion, Engineer Saad Al Muhannadi, President of Qatar Foundation, said: “Qatar Foundation participates in National Sport Day every year in order to encourage its employees to play sports and adopt healthy, active lifestyles. We strive to inspire members of the community to exercise daily, while aiming to educate individuals about the importance of playing sports all year-round.”
Mr Fahad Al Qahtani, Group Executive Director of Qatar Foundation Administration, added: “There is no doubt that National Sport Day is incredibly beneficial to both individuals and the wider community. This event promotes a strengthening sports culture in Qatar, and informs community members about the importance of living healthy lifestyles. Advanced countries are created by healthy citizens who are capable of actively serving their communities. Moreover, it is well-known that sports helps to increase productivity and creativity among employees – a sound mind reflects a sound body.”
After the walkathon, participants were then free to partake in other activities, which ranged from volleyball, basketball, and football tournaments, to traditional games and group fitness classes. This included sports such as carrom, tug of war, Zumba and Crossfit, which catered to men, women, and children of all athletic abilities. In addition, events were held specifically for QF staff, as well as those with special needs, and ladies-only events were offered by both venues.
Engineer Jassim Telefat, Group Executive Director of Qatar Foundation Capital Projects and Facilities Management, expanded: “Qatar is the first country in the world to dedicate an entire day to sport. This is something that we are very proud of, and it relays the message that Qatar’s wise leadership considers the health of its citizen as a top priority. QF encourages its employees to adopt healthy lifestyles, as preserving the health of community members is key to building a nation capable of facing challenges, in-line with the Human Development Pillar of Qatar National Vision 2030.”
Additionally, Oxygen Park also hosted pony rides organised by Al Shaqab for children aged between 5-13. This activity was supported by ExxonMobil, a major sponsor for Al Shaqab and numerous other QF projects. The equestrian centre, steeped in Qatari tradition, gave children the opportunity to get up close with the majestic animals.
Discussing the importance of National Sport Day, Alistair Routledge, President and General Manager for ExxonMobil Qatar, revealed, “We are delighted to partner with Qatar Foundation and to take part in the various programmes and activities they have planned to mark National Sport Day 2016. At ExxonMobil Qatar, we believe one of the greatest contributions we can make is to provide the energy to drive human potential, in support of a skilled, healthy, and productive workforce that can sustain Qatar’s bright future.”
“As part of this commitment, we support the role of sports in helping people achieve healthy lifestyles, which ultimately leads to a healthier workforce. Such a workforce is critical to achieving economic growth and a knowledge-based economy, a vision inspired by His Highness the Amir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani,” added Routledge.
A young student from Edison International Academy, Ahmed Said, commented on the day: “Qatar Foundation always has the best sports activities, I came here last year as well. I like taking part in as many activities as I can, but this year, I really enjoyed the pony rides.”
This year marks the fifth annual National Sport Day since the official launch in 2012 by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. National Sport Day is part of a year-round programme that is designed to encourage the Qatari community to live active, healthy lifestyles, and reflects Qatar Foundation’s dedication to serving the local community.