Two Qatari professionals who will be taking part in swimming in the English Channel this month are encouraging people in Qatar to engage in sports – key to a healthy and successful life.
“We (as a team) want to send a message to all generations in Qatar, that sports should be an important part of their lives, whatever their age or daily duties,” said Dr Khalid al-Jalham, one of the seven members of the Team Qatar Channel Swim.
Dr al-Jalham is the director of Ambulatory Care Centre at Hamad Medical Corporation, senior consultant in Urology Surgery, and an assistant professor at Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar.
He said that a busy schedule and work responsibilities should not prevent a person from exercising and staying fit.
“Sports is vital to one’s health and no one should ever neglect it. If you organise your day in the right way, you can always find time to exercise,” Dr al-Jalham stressed. “Trust me, it will benefit not only your body but also your state of mind, and you will reap the results in every aspect of your life.”
His advice to people: “Try cycling, which is a beautiful sport.”
He co-founded the Qatar Cyclists Centre, an initiative to promote cycling in the country.
“You cannot imagine how successful it was,” the Qatari doctor said. “Now thousands of men and women have joined us, and I can say it made a lot of difference in the lives of many of them.”
Dr al-Jalham is also active on sports requiring high endurance, such as triathlon and “Ironman” competitions.
In 2016, he finished the 70.3 Ironman challenge in a neighbouring GCC country, saying that “it was an amazing moment”.
About the attempt to cross the English Channel with six other Qatari amateur athletes, Dr al-Jalham said that “it will be a hard challenge where thousands have failed to complete and only few hundred did over the past century”.
“But this will make us more determined to finish it and put Qatar’s name in the record books,” he noted.
Talal Abdulaziz al-Emadi, head of Research and Legal Studies Department at the Ministry of Finance, shares the same view, saying that passion inspired him to take on serious sports while pursuing his career in law.
“You must push yourself out of your comfort zone and your life will change,” he said. “I started by very simple sports like running and cycling, and it did not only help me to get physically fit, I also became more mentally focused and achieved more success in my career.”
“Over time I wanted to achieve greater things, so I now practise sports five days per week, while also spending the weekends performing outdoor activities like diving, spearfishing and hiking,” al-Emadi added.
Besides participating in long distance running, marathons, triathlons and Ironman competitions, he is also passionate about mountain climbing.
Together with his friend Fahad al-Buenain, al-Emadi took part in a humanitarian mission with Qatar Charity in Niger.
“It was a life-changing experience. We wanted to do something to raise awareness on the food crisis in East Africa so we decided to climb the Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in the continent, under a campaign titled ‘Challenge for Life’,” he said.
“Since then it became our passion and we climbed more peaks in Europe, Asia and South America,” added al-Emadi, who co-founded Qatar’s first hiking group, an initiative to promote hiking in the country.
In 2014, the two Qataris reached the peak of the Aconcagua in Argentina, the highest in western and southern hemisphere, aimed at raising funds for children in Yemen.
Al-Emadi advises people who want to engage in sports to do any physical activity for 30 minutes per day, such as walking.
“You will notice the difference in every aspect of your life,” he said.
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