Sport in Qatar

The State of Qatar attaches great importance to sports, which is reflected in its Third National Development Strategy 2024-2030, aiming to sculpt a society where sports play a central role in ensuring a high quality of life and realising the Qatar National Vision 2030.

Qatar has solidified its commitment to sports by designating a National Sports Day, which is marked and observed annually as an official holiday on the second Tuesday of February.

Since its inaugural celebration in 2012, the Qatar National Sports Day has aimed to encourage participation in sporting activities, with hundreds of sports-related events taking place across the country.

“Celebrating Sports Day underscores the privileged position sports enjoy within the Qatari society. Regular sports exercise has transcended being a mere activity to becoming a strategic choice for the State of Qatar.” HE Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Thani, Minister of Sports and Youth—2024

Qatar’s endeavours in hosting international sports is marked by its capacity to bring global sporting events home, showcasing its talents, state-of-the-art facilities and infrastructure.

An International Sports Hub +

Since 2005, Qatar has hosted several international sporting events across all sports and age groups. Foremost among these is the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, a landmark event that was the first of its kind in the Middle East. This tournament highlighted the rich Arab and Qatari culture and heritage to a global audience, while playing a pivotal role in catalysing developmental efforts within Qatar and the broader region.

Beyond that, Qatar has been the venue-of-choice for many other international championships including the 2006 Asian Games, the 2015 Men’s Handball World Championship, the 2015 AIBA World Boxing Championship, the 48th Artistic Gymnastics World Championships, the International Handball Federation Super Globe, the 2019 ANOC World Beach Games, the 2019 IAAF World Athletics Championships, the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2019™ and 2020 as well as the IJF Masters 2020.

Moreover, the country hosted the FIFA Arab Cup Qatar 2021™, which was held for the first time under the auspices of FIFA, as well as the Formula One Qatar Grand Prix in 2021 and 2023, the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023™ and the 2024 World Aquatics Championships.

Annual international tournaments held in Qatar also include the ExxonMobil Qatar Open (tennis), the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters (golf) and the MotoGP Superbike Championship.

More Sports Events

Looking ahead, Qatar has been honoured with hosting the Asian Games (Doha 2030), which is anticipated to further bolster the sustainable sports legacy for the Asian continent.

Doha 2030 is considered a national priority, fully supported by His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the Amir of the State of Qatar. The bid for this monumental event is built upon Qatar’s extensive experience as a host country and its world-class infrastructure.

By organising the second edition in its history and the 21st in the history of the Asian Games, Qatar aims to chart a new course in sports innovation.

“Hosting the Asian Games (Doha 2030) is a promise we made on behalf of our beloved country. We embark on a new phase of rigorous work from now until the games conclude, in alignment with our strategy for national and continental legacy building.” HE Sheikh Joaan Bin Hamad Al Thani, President of the Qatar Olympic Committee

Qatar is also set to host the FIA World Endurance Championship from 2024 to 2029. This championship, which will be staged at the Lusail International Circuit, will pave the way for future international motorsports events in the country.

In April 2023, the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) announced that Qatar was awarded the right to host the 2027 FIBA Basketball World Cup, making it the first MENA country to organise this event.

A Growing Tradition of Sporting Excellence +

Qatar’s growing status in the sports arena is not limited to its hosting capabilities. The nation continues its fruitful journey in nurturing sporting talents, with Qatari athletes’ participation at the highest levels of international competition exemplifying the country’s success in developing its sports infrastructure and talent pool for future generations to build upon.

A year after hosting the best tournament in FIFA World Cup’s history, Qatar’s national football team – known by its fans as ‘Al Annabi’ (The Maroons) – were crowned champions of the AFC Asian Cup for the second consecutive time. The unprecedented edition of the continental tournament held in Doha followed the team’s initial triumph in 2019—the first in Qatar’s history.

Al Annabi also took the Arabian Gulf Cup home three times – in 1992, 2004, and 2014 – in addition to securing the gold medal in the 2006 Asian Games in Doha, showcasing the rich spectrum of Qatar’s sporting prowess.

Qatar and the Olympics

Qatar’s Olympic journey is marked by milestones of success and excellence. The nation celebrated its first Olympic silver medal at the London Olympics in 2012, won by Mutaz Barshim in the high jump event. Barshim continued to shine by claiming the silver again at the Rio Olympics in 2016, before securing a gold medal at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships in London the following year, leading to his crowning as the Men’s Athlete of the Year by the IAAF.

In 2019, Barshim added another gold medal to his collection at the IAAF World Championship in Doha, becoming the first athlete to defend the high jump title at the global event.

Tokyo 2020

The 2020 Summer Olympics (Tokyo 2020) represented a historic high point for Qatari sports, as the nation secured three medals for the first time—two golds and one bronze. The gold medals were won by Fares Ibrahim in the weightlifting competition and Mutaz Barshim in the high jump competition, while the beach volleyball duo of Cherif Younousse and Ahmed Tijan captured the bronze, marking the first time an Arab country won a medal in a team sport at the Olympics.

This exceptional performance positioned Qatar as the top Arab country in the 2020 Summer Olympics, with both Ibrahim and Barshim being featured in Forbes Middle East’s prestigious ‘30 Under 30’ list for 2021.

In the realm of Paralympic sports, Qatar has demonstrated its commitment to supporting athletes with special needs. At the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio, Abdulrahman Abdulqader and Sara Masoud won two silver medals, and at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, Abdulqader earned a bronze medal in the men’s shot-put event, with Sara Masoud taking part in the same event for women, ranking sixth and beating her own personal record.

Qatari rally driver Nasser Al Attiyah, a world champion in his discipline, has claimed the Dakar Rally title in 2011, 2015, 2019, 2022 and 2023. In the shooting sports arena, Al Attiyah secured a bronze medal at the London Olympics in 2012 and another at the 2023 Asian Games in the men’s skeet shooting competition.

In 2021, Qatari champion Amal Mohammed claimed the running target event gold medal at the Asian Airgun Championship in Kazakhstan, further showcasing the depth of Qatar’s sporting talent.

The 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou

The 2023 Asian Games, the continental event’s 19th edition held in Hangzhou, claimed continued success for Qatar, with world champion Mutaz Barshim securing a gold medal in the high jump event and becoming the first athlete in Asia to win this title in three editions.

The Qatari delegation brought home 14 medals—five gold, six silver and three bronze medals—demonstrating Qatar’s sustained excellence and competitive spirit on the Asian sports stage.

One of the gold medals won was claimed by the handball team, making it the first to achieve this feat three times in a row, following the title wins at the 2014 and 2018 Asian Games.

In 2012, Qatari swimmer Nada Mohamed became the first female to represent Qatar at the London Olympics.

Nurturing Athletic Talent

In nurturing future champions, the Qatar Olympic Committee launched the Team Qatar Club, a new sports initiative aimed at encouraging youth participation in competitive sports, building on the ‘Be An Athlete’ program designed to cultivate a new generation of Qatari sports champions.

Moreover, to showcase its dedication to enhancing the sports culture in Qatar, the Qatar Olympic Committee organises an annual Sports Excellence Day. Celebrated since 2008, it highlights the achievements of Qatari athletes, motivating them to strive for greatness and inspire future generations.

World-class Training Facilities +

Qatar has made substantial investments in developing world-class sports infrastructure, significantly contributing to the country’s success in hosting exceptional sporting events.

To prepare for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, Qatar built state-of-the-art stadiums specifically designed for the tournament. More information on those stadiums can be found here.

The country also developed many training fields, which were used by teams that took part in the FIFA World Cup 2022, the AFC Asian Cup 2023 and other major tournaments hosted by Qatar, ensuring the provision of the finest sports training and medical facilities for athletes from around the world.

Aspire Academy +

Aspire Academy is a highly advanced youth sports academy in Qatar, aligning its strategic ambitions with the Qatar National Vision 2030.

Since its establishment in 2004, Aspire Academy has provided an optimal sports and educational environment, nurturing generations of talented athletes. This includes the 2014 AFC U-19 Championship winning team, most of whom took part in the AFC Asian Cup in 2019 and 2023, where Qatar was crowned for two consecutive years.

This commitment to excellence was recognised in 2017 when Aspire Academy was awarded the title of the Best Sports Organisation by the General Secretariat and Experts Committee of the Arab Best Award.

The academy boasts extensive facilities, including 12 football pitches, an accredited training centre, the world’s largest indoor multi-purpose dome, an Olympic-sized swimming pool, an indoor athletics arena, facilities for table tennis, squash, fencing, gymnastics as well as numerous gymnasiums, highlighting Qatar’s holistic approach to sports development.

Aspetar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital +

Qatar is also home to world-class sports medicine facilities. Aspetar, Qatar’s orthopaedic and sports medicine hospital, has established itself as a global leader and the first of its kind in the Middle East and the GCC. Accredited as a ‘FIFA Medical Centre of Excellence,’ Aspetar provides unparalleled medical services to some of the world’s most prominent athletes, embodying Qatar’s integrated approach to supporting sports excellence through advanced medical care.