Activities, sports and leisure Qatar
Qatar seems to have woken up one morning and taken in a passion for sport ... In a few years, the emirate has hosted the Asian Games (2006), the Asian Football Cup (2011), the Championship of the handball world (2015) and hosts month after month a plethora of major competitions - golf tournament, open tennis, international rally, motorcycle grand prix, cycling tour of Qatar, world championship event, not to mention the numerous winter horse-riding encounters and camel races (see “Traditions”).
It is however the coming of the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar, which has caused the most ink to flow. Because of its movement in winter (because of too high summer temperatures), suspicion of corruption, but also because of the terrible working conditions of immigrant workers employed on the construction sites of its infrastructure.
Beyond that, the whole country has equipped itself in a decade with stadiums, swimming pools and other sports halls. Not a large hotel without a fitness center, not an early morning along the Corniche without its share of joggers (expatriates!)…
Qataris, for their part, greatly prefer Beach football and indoor sports (air-conditioned). They are also passionate about the Olympic Games, despite the failure of their candidacy for 2020 and the small number of medals collected so far (4, all bronze).
For a decade, the country has nationalized with big checks international athletes likely to bring back medals… The only constraint for them: adopting an Arabic name! To support its efforts, Qatar launched the Aspire Academy in 2005, inaugurated with great fanfare along with Pele and Maradona. A museum of Olympism and sport is even emerging near the Khalifa stadium.
What to do in Qatar?
As a tourist, sports activities are after all quite limited. You could treat yourself to an outing in sea kayak ou canoe in the mangroves, a tour of Jet Ski or water skiing, an afternoon of kitesurf (in Zekreet) or sailing… all activities practiced mainly through the beach clubs of the big hotels. Qatar also has a golf course of international stature (18 + 9 holes).
Next to Aspire Park, with sports facilities, jogging tracks and bike rentals, the large Villagio shopping center, inspired by Venetian architecture, houses an ice rink and a kart track.
La scuba diving is practiced on a few spots, including the artificial "reef" of Messaieed, made up of old boats and carcasses of cars sent to the bottom and linked together by ropes ... Visibility, here as elsewhere, is low, due to the numerous works construction (the exit of the waters of The Pearl does not help). What is more, the equipment rented is not of very good quality.
Wadi bashing and surfing
Ultimately, the best fun is in the sandy desert of southern Qatar. Very popular with locals and visitors alike, the outings of wadi bashing ou dune bashing, consist of pleasant 4x4 rides through the dunes. We usually go there on excursions with specialized guides who know how to avoid the traps of fech fech and do not remain stuck in the sand like so many visitors who come with their rental 4x4 (often without authorization from the company) ... Some descents will make you feel a few chills as the slope is sometimes steep. You may then take the opportunity to make a ski or snowboard dune descent...
On the road leading to Seaside and towards the Inland Sea, you will also see quite a few rental companies. buggy to have fun in the dunes