Final preparations are underway ahead of the opening of the fourth edition of the regional youth sports festival Run the World, which will be held from Dec. 18-20 at Katara Cultural Village.
Touted as a youth-run sports festival aimed at introducing young people in Qatar to a healthier lifestyle, the initiative also hopes to engage young adults in cultural exchange and extreme sports including basketball, volleyball, football, cricket, skateboarding, parkour – which involves running, jumping and climbing over urban obstacles – as well as BMX riding.
And after attracting a record 120,000 visitors last year, the organizers are hopeful that the coming three-day long event will be even more popular.
Coinciding with Qatar National Day, this year’s event will provide opportunities to understand more about and to experience different aspects of Qatari culture through stage and street performances.
There are several new activities for this year, geared to foster Qatar’s emerging local small market economy, including the RTW Souq area, a marketplace for vendors, social entrepreneurs, and other budding small and medium enterprises to sell their products.
And, for the first time, the festival will also include a Global Village, with a section where different embassies can gather to showcase their varied cultures.
While the primary focus of entertainment on the first two days is Qatar, numerous local sports icons like Redbull Parkour athletes, BMX riders, beach volleyball players, and a local fire-throwing teen will also grace the event and offer workshops on their craft.
Elsewhere, there will be a graffiti section showcasing the work of regional graffiti artists, while Egyptian, Lebanese, Indian, Palestinian, Filipino, and Kenyan cultural performances will take place at various locations.
And among the crowd favorite event which will be returning for another year is the Youth Got Talent Competition, which pits musicians, singers, dancers, and other performing youth against each other for the title.
While auditions have already been completed, selected youth will perform for the public during the festival, vying for a professional mentorship with Dana Al Fardan, whose company, DNA Records, is co-sponsoring the segment, and who will be joining the youth on stage at the final.
The event’s project manager Abdulrahman Sajid said the event had grown significantly in popularity over the years. When it started in 2011, it had 27,000 visitors. By last year, the crowd had grown nearly 10-fold, to 120,000.
“The festival has built a lot of ground-support for growing youth communities in Qatar, especially graffiti artists, extreme sports and parkour. Since 2011, we have seen a lot of organizations taking action to promote sports and healthy lifestyle among young people, and the majority of them are supported by The Youth Company,” he added.
Preparations to plan the event began earlier this year, in July, and were spearheaded by a team of some 40 university and high-school students aged 14-26 from Doha and Europe.
While entrance to the event is free, this year, residents can buy VIP tickets for QR100, which will provide them with access to VIP lounges, free food, valet parking, and other benefits available during the festival.
Organizers are still look for vendors and street performers. For more information, visit the festival’s website here.
You can see a preview of the event here.
Will you be heading there? Thoughts?