Qatar has firmly improved its reputation as a sporting hub over the past couple of years, with 89 local, regional and international sporting events held during 2015 to 2016.
Some of the most high-profile events included the AIBA World Boxing Championship, held at Al Sadd Sports Club from October 5 to 18 2015, the Doha International Boxing Tournament in May 2015, and the International Paralympic Committee Athletics World Championship, held at Qatar Sports Club in October 2015. Qatar also hosted the 2014 FINA (International Aquatics Federation) World Swimming Championships and the 2015 World Championship in Handball.
Upcoming events including the 2018 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships and 2019 IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) World Championships in Athletics.
In the meantime, there are several regular events on the annual sporting calendar, with golf, tennis and dressage among the highlights.
For a full calendar of sporting events in Qatar, visit the Qatar Olympic Committee official website: olympic.qa
Qatar’s tennis season runs from October to March, with Qatar Tennis Federation facilitating a healthy number of local and international tournaments during the peak season. Among the highest profile is the Qatar ExxonMobile Open, part of the ATP Tour, which kicks off in the first week of January 2017 at The Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex. The stadium has capacity for 7,000 with hospitality options including corporate boxes and a VIP tent.
Contact: +974 4 4409666 / qatartennis.org / wtatennis.com
One of the most prestigious events in Qatar’s sporting calendar is the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters golf tournament, which has been hosted at Doha Golf Club’s challenging 7,374-yard 18-hole Championship Course since 1998.
The annual event, part of the European Tour, attracts some of the world’s top golfers, from Adam Scott to Henrik Stenson, who compete on the fairways to win valuable ranking points and a QAR9.1 (US$2.5 million) cash prize. The 2016 tournament was won by South African Branden Grace, who has taken the title two years in a row.
The Qatar Golf Association and The European Tour signed a three-year extension of the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters back in January 2014 guaranteeing the tournament until at least 2017 on the Tour’s International Schedule. The 2017 dates have not yet been released, but it is normally held over the last weekend of January.
Doha Golf Club offers plenty of corporate hospitality venues and packages during the event. Options include the Winners’ Enclosure overlooking the 9th and 18th greens as well as private lounges located in the Sponsors’ Pavilion at the 18th green.
Contact: +974 4 4960777 / qatar-masters.com / dohagolfclub.com
Qatar’s flat landscape lends itself well to the competitive world of cycling, with both male and female competitions taking place annually. The first in the series of ‘Le Tour’ races kicks off in the Gulf state every February, attracting some of the sport’s top riders, including the 2016 winner, British national Mark Cavendish, who returned to the race after a three-year absence after also scoring the overall title in 2013.
Contact: +974 4 4475522 / qatarcf.org or letour.com/tour-of-qatar/
The Chi Al Shaqab equestrian festival in Doha was launched in 2013 to celebrate the strong presence of Arab horses in Qatari tradition, becoming the first event of its kind in the region. For the fifth edition, likely to be held in February or March 2017, national and international equestrians alike will gather to demonstrate their aptitude across several disciplines, usually including jumping, dressage, para-dressage, endurance and vaulting.
The events are staged at Al Shaqab, an equestrian facility focused on preserving, improving and promoting the Arabian horse breed. Al Shaqab will also host the Longines Global Champions Tour (LGCT) Championship finale on November 3-5 2016, where the world’s top 30 ranked show jumpers compete in a ‘Grand Slam’ like tour.
Contact: +974 4 4546320 / alshaqab.com / globalchampionstour.com
Losail Circuit Sports Club hosts a range of international and national touring car and motorcycle races, including the Motocross World Championship.
Corporate groups can get in on the race action year-round by staging a range of incentives and team building exercises at the circuit, from track days to leadership programmes.
Contact: +974 4 4409666 / circuitlosail.com
Qatar is the host nation of the 2016 and 2017 editions of the annual International Federation of Modern Pentathlon (UIPM) Champion of Champions event, set to be held at Al Shaqab in November. The modern pentathlon includes fencing, freestyle swimming, show jumping, pistol shooting and a cross-country run.
Contact: pentathlon.org / alshaqab.comn