By Sports Reporter/Doha
During the last six years, Aspire Zone Foundation’s annual two-week Ramadan Sports Festival (RSF) has become a major fixture in the calendar for sports enthusiasts across Qatar. The festival has grown in popularity thanks to a carefully designed programme which comprises a range of popular sports appealing to a wide variety of participants.
During each of the six years it has been running, RSF has attracted increasing numbers of participants, whilst the number of sports events and activities available has also grown. More than 1,300 participants took part in 13 different sporting events and activities last year. This compares with the four sporting events that took place in 2012 when the festival was first launched.
Aspire Zone Foundation’s focus on ensuring that the festival has something new to offer each year has been a key ingredient in driving greater numbers of people to participate. This clear focus on satisfying a broad range of interests and preferences has helped Aspire Zone become one of the most popular destinations for members of the local community and amateur sportsmen and women to visit during the Holy Month of Ramadan.
There have been a number of significant milestones and key moments during previous years. In 2014, AZF organised the first American football and rugby competitions to take place during Ramadan in Qatar. Before these started, AZF invited elite international football players and coaches, including former Kansas City Chiefs star Husain Abdullah, to participate in a range of activities.
During his visit, Abdullah delivered workshops to participants on the rules and regulations of the game. Since then, interest in the sport amongst local sports enthusiasts has grown rapidly, and there is now an American Football and Rugby Committee in Qatar.
The following year, in 2015, AZF launched the Aspire Embassies Futsal Tournament and the Aspire Banks Football League during Ramadan.
During the tournaments, large numbers of ambassadors, consuls, diplomats, and bank employees took part. Both tournaments were organised in part to support AZF’s mission to encourage healthy lifestyles by giving people with office-based, sedentary jobs opportunities to stay active during Ramadan. The Banks one, upon request of the participants, has turned into a larger league taking place yearly during the winter season.
During last year’s event, AZF launched a cricket tournament designed to appeal to members of the Asian community in the country given that cricket is one of most popular sports among Asian expatriates in Qatar. The much-anticipated Cricket tournament will be held for the second time this year, taking place on Aspire Zone’s Warm-up Track, from the 6th until the 8th day of Ramadan.
This year, AZF is also organising an indoor hockey tournament for men for the first time. The tournament will run for four days from the 9th until the 12th of Ramadan in the Aspire Dome, the world’s largest multi-purpose dome. The tournament follows the great success of the Asian Nations Cup indoor hockey championship 2017 which took place last month.
Other sporting tournaments included in this year’s festival programme are football, futsal, volleyball and basketball. AZF will also hold table tennis competitions for people with special needs and is organising a volleyball tournament for ladies in collaboration with Qatar Women Sports Committee.
The Ramadan Sports Festival will be held during the first two weeks of Ramadan (June 01-14). During the two weeks, thousands of members from the local community are expected to participate in sports tournaments taking place across Aspire Zone’s world class sporting facilities.
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