Qatar is sometimes called the “sports club usa“ in the world. In this Arab country you can feel the Olympic atmosphere: many children competing in athletics, tennis, football, volleyball, basketball, karate, gymnastics and judo. Cylist legend Eddy Merckx said, “Qatar as a country pushes for sport. No other country in the world is doing what Qatar is doing for sport – especially for kids. As a child, sport is a great school of life. It shows you that just talent is not enough – you also have to work very hard. If you’re a lawyer, you stay a lawyer for life. As a sportsman or sportswomen, you have to start every season at the beginning again. It’s hard to become the best, but it’s even more difficult to stay the best year after year.” Certainly, Qatar – it is about the size of Hawaii- has one of the best sporting systems outside of the industrialized world.
The Arab athlete Saif Saaeef Shaheen won the gold medal in the 3,000m steeplechase at the 2003 World Athletics Championships in Paris, France. There were celebrations for Qatar, after he won the gold medal. Saif Saaeef Shaheen wrote history for Qatar becoming the first Qatari to win a world championship in the Olympic sport.
Qatar qualified for the 2007 Handball World Championship. It was the third time that Qatar had qualified for a World Cup. Under the direction of Ekrem Jaganjac, Qatar`s national coach, the Qatari team defeated Australia 36-22. “In Qatar, there are no outstanding players, but there are many enthusiastic young ones, and I concentrate all my work on them”, said Jaganjac, who was a member of the enlarged Yugoslav team for the Summer Olympics in 1972.
Doha was scheduled to host the FIFA World Youth Championship in 1995.
Ahmed Ibraheem was the first runner to represent Qatar at an Olympic track event when he competed in the 10,000 metres and 5,000 metres at the Games of the XXIV Olympiad in Seoul (South Korea) in 1988.
The Qatari football team finished sixth at the Olympic Games in Barcelona (Spain). In the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Football Tournament 16 men`s teams competed in four rounds (preliminaries, quarter-finals, semi-finals, finals). Under the brilliant leadership Mubarak Nooralla, Qatar defeated Egypt (African champion) 1-0 in the first round. Qatar represented Asia in the quarters finals, but was eliminated by Poland, one of the best teams of Europe. The Olympic players were Ahmed Khalil Saleh, Hamad Al-Atteya, Rashid Shami Suwaid, Zamel Essa Al-Kuwari, A-Nasser Ali Al-Obaidly, Waleef Bukhit Maayof, Mubarak Nooralla, Juman Salem Johar, Mahmoud Yaseen Souf, Fahad Mohd Al-Kuwari, Adel Mulla Al-Mulla, Mohd Al Mohannadi and A-Aziz Hassan Jaloof.
Doha -the country`s capital and largest city- is one of the most modern sporting cities in the world. It has many sports facilities.The Khalifa International Stadium is the nation`s largest stadium. It is one of the most beautiful and modern stadiums in the world. Doha is also the home of the Hamad Aquatic Centre.
This Asian country organized the 1999 Handball World Junior Championship. There were 17 teams: Denmark, Sweden, Egypt, France, Yugoslavia, Spain, Russia, Greece, Tunisia, Portugal, Croatia, Qatar, Brazil, Israel, Norway, Hungary and New Zealand.
Doha hosted the Asian Games in December 2006. The opening ceremony on 1 December was held at the Khalifa International Stadium before a crowd of more than 50,000. At the 2006 Asian Games, Sheik Mohammed Bin Hamad Al -Thani, a Qatari horseman, did the honors of carrying the Olympic flame and lighting the torch. A record number of 45 countries and territories participated in the event. The Olympic village was home to 10,500 sportspeople.The competitive programme included 39 sport events: archery, athletics, badminton, baseball, basketball, bodybuilding, bowling, kayak, chess, cycling, diving, equestrian, fencing, football, golf, gymnastics, handball, field hockey, judo, kabaddi, karate, rowing, rugby, sailing, sepaktakraw, shooting, softball, squash, swimming, synchronized swimming, table tennis, triathlon, tennis, volleyball, beach volleyball, water polo, weightlifting, wushu and wrestling. These Asian Games will be remembered for its excellent organization and hospitality. The success of the Asian Games was result of the combined efforts of the Qatari government and the organizing committee (Doha Asian Games Organizing Committee). The Asian Games are the second largest international sporting event after the Summer Olympic Games.