“Sport helps people come out of comfort zones”
February 11 2020 09:59 PM
A BEAUTIFUL DAY, A SPORTING CHANCE: Watersport against the stunning West Bay skyline. People from different nationalities, ages and backgrounds step out in large numbers to participate in the Qatar National Sport Day across Doha and beyond every year.

The universal saying goes ‘a healthy mind in a healthy body’. It is a point beyond doubt that a healthy lifestyle effects body, mind, mood and attitude in a very positive way. Good things come to those who sweat.
A physical activity becomes fun when it is carried out in the form of a sport and in a festive mood. National Sport Day in Qatar is a yearly occasion that offers opportunities filled with fun and fitness. It is a time to celebrate the healthy way of living as people in Qatar take off from work to partake fitness with an air of festivity.
A varied programme of sport and other physical activities aimed at promoting active and healthy lifestyles takes centre stage at various locations to mark the day. The one-of-its-kind event — held every second Tuesday of February — encourages all members of the society to take part in the nationwide celebration.
In this connection Community, got in touch with prominent members of different expatriate communities to learn how they celebrate and view the vision behind the festivity.
Julia Toon, a British expatriate and longtime resident of Qatar, is a well-known chef promoting healthy food. She eulogised the vision behind the sport day and underlines the necessity of having an active life and nutritious food.
“For the nation to host such a special day as the sport day, where the people are encouraged to get outside and be active, I believe it is very important. It is very easy to live a sedentary life in Qatar due to the intense weather and our computerised lives. The human body is not meant to sit all day. We should be as active as we can throughout the day. It is also important to eat well and make sensible choices in order to keep healthy,” Julia said.
She added: “The National Sport Day, I believe is the perfect platform to encourage healthy activities in order to promote good health and an active lifestyle. It helps to educate the populace and encourage all to be responsible for their health, well-being and happiness.”
Julia attended a special event at Oryx International School. The event was organised by Qatar Airways. In the event, she led and judged the ‘Create a Salad’ competition. The theme behind this activity was to inspire people to eat healthily, have fun and enjoy being creative. “For many years, my main activity on the sport day had been walking my dogs — my everyday main pastime — and the other members of my family play golf.”
Pierre Daniel is an active French athlete who has walked and cycled around Qatar. Pierre spent the Sport Day at Aspire Zone taking part in different public activities — fun runs, park and run, walk, martial arts, and fitness classes. “I joined the activities very early in the morning with my other colleagues. Later, my family joined me and we enjoyed different sport activities together.”
Sharing his thoughts on the active lifestyle, the French athlete said: “The recurrence of physical activity is very important in everyone’s life. It helps to balance social and work lives. Being active physiologically helps generate certain good hormones. It is a tool that helps you maintain brain chemistry. It genuinely makes people feel happy.
“Qatar follows its vision of 2030. One of the pillars of the vision is sport. Sport brings people together and help create strong communities. It is also a social activity. I, being a sport loving person, am at ease in Qatar because of the sport-friendly environment. Sport helps people come out of their comfort zones. Sporting activities have generally become a part of Qatar culture.”
Aliguma Saul Rayan is a prominent leader of the Ugandan expatriate community in Qatar. He motivates his community members to get involved in different sport activities. “The Ugandan community has more than one football teams. People work for different companies in different areas but they get together to play football. The sport day actually helps in finding and uplifting other talented sportspersons.”
He added: “This day is not necessarily an occasion to get involved in sports activities. Instead, it gives people from different walks of life a chance to come together and celebrate sportsmanship as they give themselves a big reminder of how important healthy body and mind are.”
Mohammad Redzuan Nordin, President of Malaysian Association of Qatar, attended the sport day activities organised by his company for all employees. “The day was fun-filled. Sport activities brought people from different backgrounds together. I think one of the best and the most interesting events was tug of war that was attended by both adults and kids. The event overall created a spirit of togetherness, harmony and joy.
“The Government of Qatar has a good vision and mission. There is a lot of interest in sport activities and training of sportspersons.”
Riyaz Ahmed Bakali is a noted member of Pakistani expatriate community. He sees the rising interest in sports in Qatar as a positive sign. “Qatar has long been involved in organising different international sporting events. There is enviable infrastructure for sport activities. People of all walks of life can take advantage of the infrastructure from playing tennis to walking or jogging at Corniche.
“To further boost the interest in sports, the country has started celebrating the sport day. Sport has become a strategy for Qatar. It is an objective of the country to keep its people active, healthy and happy. There is no other example of celebrating a sport day at the national level.”
Nilangshu Dey is a prominent member of the Indian expatriate community and president of Indian Sports Centre. “Qatar started to celebrate the sport day to create a sporting environment emphasising the value of sports in everyone’s life. To have a healthy life, sport has become mandatory for everyone to keep alive the slogan of Qatar Olympic Committee — Sports for Life. So we highly admire the Qatari government’s vision in shaping our mindsets positively by bringing sport into everyone’s life. There is support for sport activities everywhere in Qatar.”
“Since Indian Sports Centre was officially launched on National Sport Day in February 2017, it has been organising different sport tournaments for people of different age groups.”

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