THE rains didn’t dampen the spirit of citizens and residents as the country celebrated the sixth edition of National Sports Day (NSD) with added zeal and zest on Tuesday.
A series of events, organised by both public and private sector across various venues, saw a huge surge in participation, more so by the nationals, proving how the NSD concept has evolved over the past five years.
The growing success of NSD can directly be linked to the inspirational leadership and active participation of our country’s higher authorities. The Emir HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Father Emir HH Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Prime Minister HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani and a host of other Sheikhs and Excellencies took part in various activities, some of them even braving the morning rains.
As usual, Katara, Aspire Zone and Corniche were the main centres, where the country’s top sports stars held the centre stage, sharing their experience with aspiring youngsters. Almost all sports clubs and neighbourhoods in the country also resembled a beehive of activity as scores of people came out with their families and children to participate in various competitions or at least indulge in some fun and frolic.
A welcome change this time was the swelling number of nationals. Unlike in the past when expatriates often outnumbered citizens, the latter’s presence was overwhelmingly visible and that was a clear indication the concept is slowly, but steadily moving towards achieving its objective.
I’m sure most of you would agree that the NSD had a key role in increasing the awareness about the importance of sports and need to promote a healthy lifestyle. It’s indeed a unique celebration, bringing together people belonging to different age groups and walks of life.
When HH the Emir issued a decree to celebrate the second Tuesday of February as NSD in 2012 and declared it as a public holiday, there were many who believed it would be just another day off work. But, looking back, I can say it was a visionary move with far-reaching benefits as it has inspired thousands of people to participate in sports or some physical activity.
It has been proved beyond doubt that playing sports or indulging in any form of workout is a natural way of getting rid of stress. Let’s make exercise a part of our daily routine, so we’ve a sound body and mind — prerequisites for success.