Posted on July 10, 2015

After a hugely successful two weeks of sports, social and cultural activities, Aspire Zone Foundation’s Ramadan Sports Festival has ended. The event was one of the busiest to take place during Ramadan, attracting a record 40,000 visitors and generating great feedback from officials and the media.

As in previous years, Aspire Zone proved to be one of the most popular destinations for the local community during the Holy Month. During the festival period, a wide range of activities took place at each of Aspire Zone Foundation’s facilities and premises. These attracted many thousands of visitors who came to enjoy the unique combination of entertainment, sports, competitions and religious events. The festival proved popular with participants of all ages and a range of nationalities. Participants’ appreciation for how well the events were organised was clear.

Mr. Nasser Abdullah Al Hajri, Marketing Director at Aspire Zone Foundation, said: “As this year’s festival draws to a close, I hope that we have fulfilled our promise by presenting a comprehensive collection of events and activities. I also hope that the new events we added to our programme this year satisfied all those who took part. Our activities reflect Aspire Zone Foundation’s focus on encouraging people to adopt healthy and active lifestyles year-round.”

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He added: “There were a number of highlights from this year’s festival. Amongst these were the smiles on all the faces of all the children who took part in events like Garango along with their parents. In addition, the strength of spirit demonstrated by participants in the various sports competitions, and the spiritual and peaceful atmosphere enjoyed by those who participated in our religious lectures. I would like to thank our partners and Aspire staff as well as convey our appreciation for the respected clerics and figures who played such an important part in contributing to the success of this year’s festival. We look forward to another successful festival next year.”

Well-known Islamic clerics contribute the spiritual atmosphere of the festival

During the 17-day event, Aspire Zone partnered with Sheikh Thani bin Abdullah Foundation for Humanitarian Services (RAF) to host a "Bashaa’ir Ar-Rahmah” event. The programme for this included a series of religious lectures entitled “Ramadan Erada”, delivered by several well-known Islamic clerics including Dr. Aaidh Al Qarni, Mohammed Al Oraifi, Omar Abdulkafi and other respected figures.   

A number of lectures were hosted at the Torch Hotel in Aspire Zone and were very well attended by the public. In total, more than 11,000 participants attended these in person, with 7,000 attending them at the Torch Hotel. This was in addition to the huge numbers of viewers who watched the lectures via a live stream or on YouTube. Footage of the lectures was also made available in sign language. In addition, the Aspire Mosque hosted 12 Quran readers to lead prayers during the Isha and Taraweh prayers. In other activity, between 600-800 iftar meals were distributed daily as part of the “Road Iftar” programme created by Aspire Zone in cooperation with RAF. 

Celebrating heritage and traditions proves to be hugely popular

Another unique initiative organised by Aspire Zone Foundation for the first time this year was the “Freej Aspire”, designed to celebrate and revive Qatari customs and traditions. The Freej was inaugurated by HE Dr. Hamad Bin Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari, Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage, who described it as covering all aspects of Qatari life in a way that connects people to their culture and traditions. He signalled his appreciation for the Freej’s role in educating younger generations about Qatar’s history.   

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In total, more than 25,000 visitors visited the “Freej Aspire.” The response from the public has been very enthusiastic and the various activities have proven very popular on social media. The Garangao night proved particularly successful, with more than 5,000 people attending. This special evening event was a source of great enjoyment for children, a number of elderly visitors and groups of visitors with special needs. During the event, the main Freej courtyard was full of a range of entertainment activities, children’s shows, and performances of national songs.

Aspire Zone Foundation also cooperated with Qatar Charity to introduce the “Sloom Ahel Qatar” programme, designed to revive Qatari traditions and customs. The programme included lectures, forums, traditional competitions as well as opportunities for visitors to learn about photography, sailing, falcon training, and a variety of other traditional activities.

Excellent participation levels across all tournaments and championships

This is the fourth consecutive year that Aspire Zone Foundation has organised the Ramadan Sports Festival. Around 1,300 people and 100 teams took part in 12 different competitions for both men and women, in addition to a number of events organised for people with special needs. This year’s festival expanded to include a number of new events and competitions including the Aspire Banks Tournament organised in partnership with Qatar Central Bank and involving eight teams; the Aspire Embassies Tournament, which involved 12 teams from a number of diplomatic bodies in Qatar; as well as junior futsal, women’s futsal and the Aspire staff futsal.

Aspire Zone Foundation also collaborated with the Qatar Paralympic Committee to organise competitions for people with special needs, and the Qatar Woman’s Sports Committee to organise the women’s competitions.