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Coalition partners compete at Qatar National Sports Day event

Coalition partners compete at Qatar National Sports Day event

U.S. coalition partners, play soccer during Qatar National Sports Day at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, Feb. 13, 2018. Competitors participated in several events throughout the day such as volleyball, soccer, basketball and track. The holiday began in 2011 after Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani instituted the holiday to promote a healthy and active lifestyle. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Patrick Evenson)

Coalition partners compete at Qatar National Sports Day event

Members of coalition forces gather for an awards ceremony after competing in events for Qatar National Sports Day at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, Feb. 13, 2018. Competitors participated in several events throughout the day such as volleyball, soccer, basketball and track. The holiday began in 2011 after Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani instituted the holiday to promote a healthy and active lifestyle. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Patrick Evenson)

Coalition partners compete at Qatar National Sports Day event

A member of the British Royal Air Force assigned to the 83 Expeditionary Air Group, gives a child a high-five during Qatar National Sports Day at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, Feb. 13, 2018. Competitors participated in several events throughout the day such as volleyball, soccer, basketball and track. The holiday began in 2011 after Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani instituted the holiday to promote a healthy and active lifestyle. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Patrick Evenson)

Coalition partners compete at Qatar National Sports Day event

U.S. coalition partners play soccer during Qatar National Sports Day at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, Feb. 13, 2018. Competitors participated in several events throughout the day such as volleyball, soccer, basketball and track. The holiday began in 2011 after Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani instituted the holiday to promote a healthy and active lifestyle. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Phil Speck)

Coalition partners compete at Qatar National Sports Day event

U.S. coalition partners play soccer during Qatar National Sports Day at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, Feb. 13, 2018. Competitors participated in several events throughout the day such as volleyball, soccer, basketball and track. The holiday began in 2011 after Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani instituted the holiday to promote a healthy and active lifestyle. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Phil Speck)

Coalition partners compete at Qatar National Sports Day event

Members of the British Royal Air Force assigned to the 83 Expeditionary Air Group, compete in a tug of war event during Qatar National Sports Day at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, Feb. 13, 2018. Competitors participated in several events throughout the day such as volleyball, soccer, basketball and track. The holiday began in 2011 after Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani instituted the holiday to promote a healthy and active lifestyle. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Patrick Evenson)

Coalition partners compete at Qatar National Sports Day event

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Jason R. Armagost (left), commander of the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing, plays soccer with Qatar Emiri Air Force and USAF leadership during Qatar National Sports Day at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, Feb. 13, 2018. Competitors participated in several events throughout the day such as volleyball, soccer, basketball and track. The holiday began in 2011 after Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani instituted the holiday to promote a healthy and active lifestyle. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Patrick Evenson)

Coalition partners compete at Qatar National Sports Day event

U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Jeffery L. Harrigian, U.S. Air Forces Central Command commander and Air Component commander for CENTCOM, plays table tennis during Qatar National Sports Day at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, Feb. 13, 2018. Competitors participated in several events throughout the day such as volleyball, soccer, basketball and track. The holiday began in 2011 after Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani instituted the holiday to promote a healthy and active lifestyle. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Patrick Evenson)

Coalition partners compete at Qatar National Sports Day event

U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Jeffery L. Harrigian, U.S. Air Forces Central Command commander and Air Component commander for CENTCOM, is congratulated by a spectator after making a soccer goal during Qatar National Sports Day at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, Feb. 13, 2018. Competitors participated in several events throughout the day such as volleyball, soccer, basketball and track. The holiday began in 2011 after Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani instituted the holiday to promote a healthy and active lifestyle. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Patrick Evenson)

Coalition partners compete at Qatar National Sports Day event
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U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Jeffery L. Harrigian (left), U.S. Air Forces Central Command commander and Air Component commander for CENTCOM, is offered tea and hors d’oeuvres during Qatar National Sports Day at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, Feb. 13, 2018. Competitors participated in several events throughout the day such as volleyball, soccer, basketball and track. The holiday began in 2011 after Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani instituted the holiday to promote a healthy and active lifestyle. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Patrick Evenson)

Coalition partners compete at Qatar National Sports Day event
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U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Jason R. Armagost (right), commander of the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing, congratulates a teammate and member of the Qatar Emiri Air Force while playing soccer during Qatar National Sports Day at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, Feb. 13, 2018. Competitors participated in several events throughout the day such as volleyball, soccer, basketball and track. The holiday began in 2011 after Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani instituted the holiday to promote a healthy and active lifestyle. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Patrick Evenson)

Coalition partners compete at Qatar National Sports Day event
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U.S. coalition partners play volleyball during Qatar National Sports Day at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, Feb. 13, 2018. Competitors participated in several events throughout the day such as volleyball, soccer, basketball and track. The holiday began in 2011 after Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani instituted the holiday to promote a healthy and active lifestyle. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Joshua Horton)

Coalition partners compete at Qatar National Sports Day event
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U.S. and coalition partners participate in festivities along with members of the Qatar Emiri Air Force during a Qatar National Sports Day celebration at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, Feb. 13, 2018. The holiday was instituted in 2011 by Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamas Al Thani as a way to promote a healthy and active lifestyle. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Joshua Horton)

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Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian, Air Forces Central Command commander, prepares to take a shot during the 4th annual Qatar National Sports Day at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. Initiated in 2011 by Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the national day instills the value of sports into the nation's culture and inspires people to be healthy and engage in physical activities. This marks the 4th year U.S. and Coalition personnel have joined their Qatar Emiri Air Force partners in the event, strengthening relations between the U.S., Coalition partners and their Qatari hosts. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Patrick Evenson)

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.