Celebrated annually on the second Tuesday of February, National Sport Day (NSD) has been singled out by authorities in Qatar as a day for physical activity.
Former Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani established the holiday in 2011 to encourage residents of Qatar to be more active.
Every year, government ministries, institutions and private companies organize a long list of sports-related activities for employees and the public to take part in the spirit of the day.
This year, the new Ministry of Culture and Sports has asked that organizations not make gifts and free handouts a part of the holiday.
Here’s our guide on where to go and what to do to get active on Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. As always, please let us know in the comments below if we’ve missed something.
Following a weeklong chilly spell, Qatar is starting to warm up a bit. Temps should be mild, ranging from 15 to 22C (62 to 72F). However, Qatar Meteorology is now forecasting Feb. 9 to be a windy, dusty day.
National Sport Day is a bank holiday. That means most banks, financial institutions and the Qatar Stock Exchange will be closed, with business resuming as normal on Wednesday, Feb. 10.
Since 2013, the Dolphin Energy Doha Dash has become a fixture of National Sport Day. The event at the Losail International Circuit includes 10km, 5km, 3km and 1km runs, as well as a 1km “Ladies Walk.”
Things kick off on Tuesday at 7am and run until 1pm. Make sure to register in advance at dohadash.com.
Unlike in years past, the Qatar Olympic Committee will not host a “Sports Village” beside the General Post Office. However, it is holding several events along the Corniche itself.
The Qatar Sailing and Rowing Federation will have a sailing race at 9am, as well as water skiing and “shaweef” rowing. Rowing machines and kayaking are available at 10am.
Meanwhile, the Qatar Weightlifting Federation is hosting weightlifting from 9am to 9pm. Fencing is scheduled between 10am and 3pm, while handball activities go from 8am to 8pm.
There’s also supposed to be mini golf, organized by the Qatar Golf Federation (no hours listed).
Ooredoo is hosting NSD activities at the park for the public starting at 8:30am. Offerings will include fitness classes for all ages and levels, including Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, a walking group, gladiator joust, circuit training, football and kayaking.
There will also be some professional trainers onsite to teach visitors exercise skills such as warming-up.
The Aspire Zone will be a hive of activity on National Sport Day. Planned events include “beach” soccer, judo, football and basketball – all starting at 8am.
There’ll also be a climbing wall, a family bootcamp, a fun run and four-seater bicycles cars.
Qatar’s Fencing Federation will have fencing in the park, from 10am to 1pm, too.
Here’s Aspire’s map and schedule of events:
The Katara Cultural Village is another NSD hub, and will have among other things karate demonstrations (9am-5pm), fast & slow chess competitions (9am-1pm; 2pm-6pm), wrestling (9:30am), weightlifting and sailing.
Additionally, the Qatar Basketball Federation will have 3×3 games from 10am to 6pm. Table tennis is on from 9am to 6pm and hand gliding will be offered from 7am to 9am & between 4pm and 5pm.
Qatar Boxing Federation also has “boxing for all” from 9am to 6pm, with an exhibition between 4pm to 5:30pm and sack races at 10am and 3pm.
Qatar Rugby Federation is hosting a 5×5 touch rugby challenge at Katara Beach (gate #4) starting at 8am and running through 5pm.
Qatar Foundation has an extensive list of activities that are open to the public on Sport Day, taking place at both the Student Center and the new Oxygen Park in Education City.
It all runs between 9am-4pm, with a walkathon at 10:30am, followed by group fitness classes (aerobics, zumba, crossfit), pony rides and tournaments for just about every sport.
Here’s an updated brochure listing all of QF’s events (in both English and Arabic), with a map as well:
The Qatar Olympic Committee has planned over a dozen activities at the Pearl Qatar this year, all happening at the Lido Venezia Beach (in Qanat Quartier) from 8am to 4pm.
Alongside standard sports like football, volleyball, badminton, table tennis and basketball are other activities like an inflatable climbing wall, “human foosball,” sack races, egg and spoon races and an “inflatable bungee run.”
The Men’s Tour of Qatar cycling competition will also be passing through the Pearl between 1pm-3pm, and fans should be able to catch a glimpse of the action.
*Important Note: The entrance and exit to the Pearl, plus some internal roads, will be closed between 1pm to 3pm due to the cycling.
The Qatar Tourism Authority has partnered with some 47 hotels for its #QatarInMotion campaign on sports day.
Participating hotels are offering free access to gyms & complimentary fitness classes, as well as discounted memberships and room rates and “healthy” brunches.
Here’s a listing of their offerings:
Khalifa Tennis Complex: Qatar Tennis Federation will be offering various sessions on tennis basics from 9am until 8pm.
Lusail: The Qatar Shooting and Archery Association is hosting shooting, archery and fitness events from 8am to 7pm at the Lusail Shooting Club.
Mansoura: The Qatar Snooker and Billiards Federation will be hosting visitors at Rawdat Al Khail Street from 10am to 9pm.
Al Gharafa: Qatar Athletics Federation is organizing a 2km walk and kids activities from 10am to 1pm.
Here’s the Qatar Olympic Committee’s full list of events:
The Ministry of Culture and Sport has also sent us a map with a full listing of everything happening across Qatar.
Here are the details:
What are your top picks for things to do on #QNSD2016? Thoughts?