Sport in Qatar
In 2022 Qatar will host the FIFA World Cup an event that promises to put the small Arab nation firmly onto the world stage. The event also highlights just how popular football is in Qatar. Other popular sports in the country range from handball, basketball, volleyball, horse racing and cricket.
Equestrian sport is another well-liked traditional sporting activity in the UAE and is a very important part of the UAE’s heritage. Like their reputation in camel racing, the people of the UAE, both members of royal families and ordinary citizens, are famous for their horsemanship. The UAE is also home to many world class stables which contain large numbers of Arabian horses that are renowned for their intelligence, stamina, good temperament with humans and suitability for long distance endurance riding. The horse riding season in the country extends from November to March.
More popular than regular football is its indoor variant called Futsal. The rules are the same as normal football but the game is played on a smaller pitch and played indoors (particularly useful in Qatar’s desert climate). Instead of the eleven players on each team in regular football teams in Futsal are made up of five players each including a goalkeeper.
Due to Qatars desert location it makes sense that the camel would be the racing animal of choice. This sport is based on the traditions of the Bedouin tribes who would hold camel races to mark an important social occasions such as a wedding, festival or the visits of sheiks. These days camel racing is a well organised and popular sport that can attract huge numbers of spectators. A racing camel begins its training at two years old and to build their stamina they are made to run certain distances every day. Recently humans have been banned from riding the camels under animal rights laws. There are two main breeds being raced, the Omani and Sudania which differ in colour – the Omani being very light and the Sudania more of a tan colour.