Coalition partners compete at Qatar National Sports Day event
By Staff Sgt. Patrick Evenson, 379th Air Expeditionary Wing, Public Affairs
/ Published February 19, 2018
AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar -- U.S. and coalition partners participated in Qatar National Sports Day alongside members of the Qatar Emiri Air Force, competing in various sporting events here on Feb. 13.
The holiday takes place annually on the second Tuesday of February and has become the second largest holiday in the country after Qatar National Day, which is celebrated in December.
The Qatar National Sports Day began in 2011 after Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani instituted the holiday to promote a healthy and active lifestyle.
“It’s a great opportunity to come together and get to know each other in a different way outside a professional setting,” said Brig. Gen. Jason Armagost, commander of the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing.
At dawn, the day began with hundreds of multi-national competitors gathering for a 3k walk that ended at the Qatari stadium. Following the walk, both individuals and teams broke off from the group to compete in the sporting events of their choice.
Table tennis, basketball and swimming events were held in the main sports complex, while volleyball, soccer, tennis and track and field were held in the outdoor stadium. This year the QEAF added push-up, sit-up and stationary bike competitions to the line-up of events.
Events such as this are hosted throughout the country to encourage wide-scale participation in recreational activities. Parks, stadiums and communal areas in Doha are filled with activity on this holiday, said Jassim Al-Adulla from the QEAF.
“Everybody is participating from kids, young people, teenagers and adults,” he said. “It is a good sign that people are really aware of fitness and health.”
After all events concluded at the end of the morning, individual and team winners of the various sports competitions received awards.
Upon the conclusion of the awards ceremony, congratulations, smiles and laughter filled the stadium as stories of the games were retold amongst former competitors.
“When it comes to sports, everybody has a shared interest in competing and competing well,” Armagost said. “It’s a fun group effort and a way to show some commonalities.”
As the stadium emptied, handshakes were given and photos were taken between services and nationalities. Some will likely meet again for a rematch.