This year’s National Day brought Qatar a new first as avid local outdoorsman, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Thani, planted the first Qatari flag on the South Pole to commemorate the holiday.
Before being able to mark the country’s presence in the South Pole, Al Thani had to undergo two weeks of skiing in below freezing temperatures, ranging from -25 to -30 degrees Celsius at the time.
Partaking in the Antarctic expedition “Ski the last degree to the South Pole, bottom of the world,” the outdoorsman traveled some 60 nautical miles to get from the 89th to the 90th degree to reach the most southern part of the earth, where the flag was then placed.
While the name of the expedition varies depending upon tour organizers, the last degree ski to the South Pole is often named as the most popular and inspiring Antarctic excursion.
Speaking of his achievement, Al Thani said in a statement:
“I am extremely proud to be the first Qatari to raise the flag of Qatar on the South Pole. Very few people have been privileged to visit the South Pole. This milestone, I hope, will continue to inspire young people in Qatar as we celebrate our beloved National Day.”
This is not the first time Al Thani has mastered one of nature’s challenges.
Last year, the outdoors enthusiast was the first Qatari to climb and raise the nation’s flag at Mount Everest’s peak, and earlier this year he led a group of 12 youths up Mount Kilimanjaro while raising money to better Gaza’s education system.
The expedition not only raised some QR2 million for Gaza, but also resulted six women making history after becoming the first female Qataris to summit the mountain.
Serving as ambassador to local charity organization Reach Out To Asia (ROTA), Al Thani’s group climb up Kilimanjaro, the world’s largest free-standing mountain, was fundraised through ROTA’s “My Education… my Hope” campaign.
Al Thani has also dedicated a number of personal excursions to raising money for charitable causes.