Qatar is preparing to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup™, and will be the first Arab country in the world to host the event. The country is paving its way to become recognised as a sports capital not only in the region but the world. On our quest to bring you a list of notable Qatari sports representatives and athletes who are putting Qatar on the map, we were overwhelmed by how many sports personalities there are. Too many to fit on here – some of which you may or may not know from sports events and media coverage, both local and international.
Here are some sports representatives as well as athletes in Qatar who are behind the country’s great success and world status in sports today:
HH Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani
Born in 1978, Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani is the Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC). He is the patron of Aspire Academy since 2003. The Sheikh Jassim Cup and Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Stadium are named after him.
HE Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani
Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani is the brother of the Emir, HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and fifth son of the Father Emir, HH Sheikh Hamad. In May 2015, he was appointed president of the Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC). He also served as president of the Organising Committee of the 24th Men’s Handball World Championship Qatar 2015. He was the Torch relay ambassador for the 2006 Asian Games in Doha.
HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad Al Thani
HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad Al Thani is the brother of the Emir, HH Sheikh Tamim and the sixth son of the Father Emir, HH Sheikh Hamad. He is the chairman of the committee that presented Qatar’s winning bid to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup™. He graduated from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar where he obtained a BA degree in May 2009. In 2013, he graduated from Harvard University with an MBA. He is fluent in French, English and Arabic. Sheikh Mohammed is a former captain of the Qatar equestrian team, and as such, had the honour to light the cauldron of the Doha 2006 Asian Games on horseback.
Nasser Al Khelaifi
Born in 1973, Nasser Al Khelaifi is considered to be one of the most powerful figures in European and world football. He is the chairman and chief executive officer of beIN Media Group, chairman of Qatar Sports Investments, president of Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), and Qatar Tennis Federation (QTF). He is also a member of the organizing committee for the FIFA Club World Cup™.
Hassan Al Thawadi
Hassan Al Thawadi is Secretary-General of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC). In March 2011, he was appointed Secretary-General of SC, the organisation responsible for coordinating among public and private entities to ensure that infrastructure and development projects are delivered in readiness for the 2022 FIFA World Cup™. He is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Local Organising Committee of 2022 FIFA World Cup™ and Special Adviser of the FIFA’s World Cup Organising Committee. Formerly, he was the CEO of Qatar’s 2022 Bid Committee, working closely with Bid Chairman, HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad Al Thani and a member of the Board at national stakeholders of SC concerned with delivering the 2022 FIFA World Cup™.
Born in 1988, Abdelrahman Abdelgadir is a world-record holder in the shot put (paralympics F34) and member of Team Qatar. Qatar won its first medal at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio De Janeiro after Abdelqader took silver in the Shot Put F34 final. Abdelgadir also took gold in Shot Put F34 in the 2014 Asian Para-Games in Incheon, South Korea – his first international medal ever. During the GCC Para-Athletics Championships in September 2015, which served as a test event for the ongoing IPC Athletics World Championships, the rising Qatari star broke the world record with an incredible throw of 10.68 metres.
Born in 1997, Abdalelah Haroun Hassan is a Qatari track and field sprinter, specialising in the 400 metres. He is the 2015 Asian champion in the event and holds the Asian indoor record. He began to represent Qatar in February 2015. His first recorded performance was a time of 45.74 seconds for the 400m in Doha in April 2014, which placed him among the world’s most promising young sprinters for the event. He announced himself on the elite scene in his next performance at the XL Galan in February 2015 by running an Asian indoor record of 45.39 seconds, which was also the third fastest ever by a junior category athlete and the fastest ever indoor debut. At his next outing one month later he set an outdoor best of 44.68 seconds. He ran at the Doha Diamond League meeting and won the non-Diamond-race contest with another sub-45-second run. On his IAAF Diamond League debut proper, he finished fifth at the Prefontaine Classic. He quickly established himself as one of Asia’s top senior athletes at the 2015 Asian Athletics Championships with his third 44.68-second clocking of the season.
Born in 1998, Mariam Farid is a sprinter and multiple national record-holder. She is the 2019 IAAF World Championships Ambassador and one of Qatar’s most promising young female athletes with high ambitions of achieving success on the world stage. The full-time university student and member of Qatar’s national athletics team’s most recent success came at the GCC Women’s Games in Doha, where she claimed silver and bronze medals.
Born in 1991, Mutaz Essa Barshim is the most celebrated Qatari athlete. He is a Qatari track and field athlete who specialises in the high jump. He is the national record and Asian record holder with a best of 2.43m. He won a gold medal at the 2017 World Championships in Athletics, a silver medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and a bronze medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. He was the Asian Indoor and World Junior champion in 2010, and won high jump gold medals at the 2011 Asian Athletics Championships and 2011 Military World Games. In 2017, Barshim competed for Qatar in the IAAF World Championships, and earned a gold medal in the high jump.
Noor Al Malki
Born in 1994, Noor Hussain Al Malki is a Qatari sprinter. She was a member of the Qatar Olympic Team for the London 2012 games, becoming the first women from Qatar to compete at an Olympics. At the 2012 Summer Olympics, Malki, who was 17 at the time, failed to finish her 100m heat after appearing to pull a hamstring as she came out of the blocks at London’s Olympic stadium. She was one of four females to compete for Qatar in London. She began training as an athlete in 2008 and soon became the fastest female Qatari athlete, winning the Qatar Association of Athletics Federation’s (QAAF) ‘Best Female Athlete’ in 2010-11.
Born in 1984, Team Qatar’s Sara Masoud competes in the discus throw and shot put F33 events. She won a gold medal in shot put F33 in the 2014 Asian Para-Games. She took home gold in both during the Asian Para-Games 2014 in Incheon, South Korea. More recently, Masoud placed second in the IPC Athletics Grand Prix in Beijing in April 2015 in both events ahead of some of the best athletes in the region. Qatar saw its first female athlete win a silver medal at the Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where Masoud won a silver in the women’s shot put F33 event. That makes her the first female athlete to win a medal for Qatar at the Games. And it’s only the second time Qatar has won a medal at the Paralympics.
Born in 1987, Qatar’s equestrian team has achieved incredible success on home soil in recent months with Bassem Mohammed and Sheikh Ali Al Thani winning the Longines Global Champions Tour (LGCT) Grand Prix and Qatar International Show Jumping Championships respectively. The LGCT finale was held at Al Shaqab and saw huge crowds gather for the climax of the most challenging show jumping circuit in the world. Bassem demonstrated nerves of steel in the nine-strong jump off to sweep home clear and finish a full two seconds ahead of his closest rival.
Khalid Al Emadi
Born in 1994, Khalid Al Emadi is a champion equestrian and a further member of Qatar’s equestrian team who is achieving strong results on an international stage and won at the CHI Al Shaqab event in 2017, also held in Doha. Al Emadi was also a member of the historic show jumping team that qualified for last year’s Rio 2016 Olympics for the first time ever.
Sheikh Ali Al Thani
Born in 1982, Sheikh Ali Al Thani, who last year finished sixth at the Rio 2016 Olympics, claimed his second consecutive victory at the Grand Prix event of the Qatar International Show Jumping Championships at Qatar Equestrian Federation’s Al Rayyan arena. The victory saw Sheikh Ali qualify for the 2018 World Cup Jumping event.
Mashel Al Naimi
Born in 1983, Mashel Al Naimi is a Qatari motorcycle racer. Al Naimi is one of the first Qataris to ride in the motorcycling world Championships. He started out riding motocross in the desert and was inspired to roadrace by the arrival of MotoGP in Qatar in 2004. He started racing in the Losail National Cup in 2005 and won the Championship. At the same time, Al Naimi made his debut in the Spanish Supersport Championship. In 2006, he moved up to world level, taking part in several World Superstock rounds, scoring his first world points with a 13th-place finish at Valencia. The following year, Al Naimi moved up to the Spanish Championship Extreme series and made his World Superbike debut at Losail, finishing 17th in the first race. In 2007 he also finished third in the Doha Eight Hours endurance race in 2008-2009, he won the Superstock Endurance World Championship. He has won many titles at the Qatar Superstock Championship and Endurance World Cup.
Mohamed Abu Issa
Born in 1990, Mohamed Abu Issa is a Qatari professional quad racer and rally driver, representing his country in the Cross Country Rally World Cup and Dakar Rally. He holds the distinction of being the first driver from Qatar to complete the Dakar Rally in South America on a quad bike. Cross-country rallies are one of the most testing sports events on the globe. He finished fourth place in 2014, is a two-time winner at the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, and is a winner of the Sealine Cross Country Rally Qatar in 2014. Coming from one of Qatar’s leading business magnates, Abu Issa, the young racer is now a local icon and entrepreneur, and is founder of the five-star fitness centre OxFitness Lab at The Gate Mall.
Nasser Al Attiyah
Born in 1970, Nasser Al Attiyah is the most celebrated Qatari rally driver and skeet shooter. He is a two-time Dakar Champion (2011, 2015), the only Middle Eastern to win twice, two-time WRC-2 Champion (2014, 2015), one-time PWRC Champion in 2006 and holds 12 MERC Championships, winning consecutively from 2005 to 2009, and then resuming his winning streak from 2011 to 2016. He also won an Olympic Bronze Medal in Skeet Shooting in 2012. He wrote history in 2015 by being the first rally racer to win four titles in one year.
Saeed Al Sulaiti
Born in 1985, Saeed Al Sulaiti is a Qatari motorcycle racer. He made his Grand Prix debut in the Moto2 class as a wild-card rider in the 2017 Qatar Grand Prix on a Kawasaki ZX-10R. Beginning his professional trajectory in 2010 competing in the World Endurance Championship, alongside the Superbike championship in Qatar, he has also done stints in the Moto2 and Superbike categories in the FIM CEV Repsol.
Sheikh Mohamed bin Abduallah Al Thani
Born in 1982, Sheikh Mohammed Al Thani is the first Qatari to climb Mt Everest in 2013 and the Seven Summits. He is also the first Qatari to reach the South Pole, where he planted a flag to commemorate Qatar National Day in 2014. He is a Reach Out To Asia (ROTA) Goodwill Ambassador, and also a member of Air Arabia’s Board of Directors and co-founder of musafir.com. For Sheikh Mohammed, mountaineering is a passion. His dedicated mission is to push his limits by reaching the seven highest summits of the seven continents of the world. In September 2011, he summited Mont Blanc at 4,810 m. He also climbed twice the summits of Mt Kilimanjaro at 5,895 m on March 2010 and on 12 November 2011, respectively. Similarly, on 25 December 2012, he reached the top of Mt Vinson, the highest peak of Antarctica, at an altitude of 4,892 m, on 28 August 2012, he reached the summit of Mt Elbrus, the highest point in Europe at 5,642 m, on 11 October 2012, he summited Mt Kosciuszko, Australia at 2,228 m, on 5 January 2013, he reached the summit of Mt Aconcagua (South America), the highest peak in the Western hemisphere at an altitude of 6,960 m and on 22 May 2013, he reached the top of Mt Everest in Nepal at an altitude of 8,850 m.
Sheikha Asma Al Thani
Born in 1989, Sheikha Asma Al Thani is the first Qatari woman to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in October 2014 with a group of women from Qatar as part of a charitable endeavour to raise some QAR2 million to build schools for Gaza. She is also the first Qatari to go to the North Pole. In April 2017, she joined a team of women from across Europe and the Arabian Peninsula to ski together to the top of the world on a 100 km journey across the shifting pack ice of the Arctic Ocean to 90°North, the North Geographic Pole. In addition, Sheikha Asma is the Director of Marketing and Communications at the Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC).
Born in 1998, Fares Ibrahim is a Qatar weightlifter. The World Junior Weightlifting Champion won the 2016 Asian Championships and finished an incredible seventh-place at the Rio 2016 Olympics, at the age of 18. Ibrahim headed to his first senior World Championships at the 2017 World Championships in Anaheim, USA. His first major achievement came in 2014 when, at just 16 years old, he won the Qatar Cup and broke the world youth record in the process, which gave him an early taste of international success. This motivated him to break new records and to work hard for a medal in the Olympics.
Nada Mohammed Arakji
Born in 1994, Nada Arakji is a Qatari swimmer who became the first female athlete to represent Qatar twice in the Olympics when the Rio Games began. Arakji was among four Qatari women who made history at the London 2012 Games when they became Qatar’s first-ever female Olympians. She competed in the 50m freestyle at the 2012 Summer Olympics, becoming the country’s first female swimmer to compete in the Olympics. She is the daughter of the former Qatar national football team goalkeeper and Al Sadd player Mohamed Wafa Arakji.
Mohammed Al Shammeri
Mohamed Al Shammeri is an international fencer, representing Team Qatar. Al Shammeri is a World Youth Cup bronze medallist and finished seventh in the Asian U23 Championships and is looking to beat the world’s best in front of a home-crowd as the global competition once again returns to Doha.
Qatar’s first-ever professional squash player, Abdulla Tamimi, broke into the world’s top 40 for the first-time in 2017 following strong performances on the PSA World Tour. The Aspire Academy graduate represented Team Qatar in the 2017 Qatar Classic Squash Championships, an event that is part of the PSA World Tour circuit and has been held annually at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex since 2001.
Mohammed Al Modiahki
Born in 1974, Mohammed Al Modiahki is a Qatari chess Grandmaster. He was the first player in Qatar to earn the title of grandmaster, and is the country’s highest ranked player. He was awarded the trophy of the ‘Player of the Century within the Arab Countries’. Al Modiahki has participated in nine Chess Olympiads in 1988, 1990, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002 and 2006 with an overall record of (+60,=28,-21). At the 32nd Chess Olympiad in 1996 he won the gold medal for his individual performance on the first board, scoring 8/10. This is a performance he repeated at the 33rd Chess Olympiad in 1998, this time with 7.5/8. In 1994 and 2002, his individual performance earned him the bronze medal. He played four times in the knock out stages of the FIDE World Chess Championships in Las Vegas (1999), New Delhi (2000), Moscow (2002) and Libya 2004. He won the Arab Chess Championship on four occasions: in 1994, 1997, 2000 and 2002 (shared with Hichem Hamdouchi). Other victories include the Agadir Open in Morocco, Andorra Open (1999), the open tournament in Tunis (1997) and shared first places at the Goodricke Open in India (1995) and Benasque Open in Spain (1997). In 2001, he married Grandmaster Zhu Chen, who now also plays for Qatar. In October 2003, he achieved his maximum FIDE rating of 2588.
Yasmian Al Sharshani
Born in 1989, Yasmian Al Sharshani is Qatar’s first female golfer and the first woman in the Qatar National Golf Team. In 2013, Yasmian founded the Qatar Golf Ladies (QGL), the first women’s centre for golf in Qatar and the Middle East. The organisation pursues community engagement through cultural and educational activities, and includes social, health and recreational elements for women and children. Months after launching QGL, Al Sharshani was awarded the 2013 Businesswoman of the Year award at the fourth annual Qatar International Businesswomen Forum.
Did we miss anyone? Share your suggestions in the comment box below!
This is part of Marhaba‘s ‘Who’s Who in Qatar’ series. Learn more!
Author: Ola Diab
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