Patriotic spirit flies high at Flag Relay
December 16 2018 09:50 PM
People participate in a Flag Relay on Doha Corniche.
People participate in a Flag Relay on Doha Corniche.

QNA Doha

More than 1,500 people took part in the second edition of Flag Relay covering over 300km across Qatar as the flag travelled up and around the country as part of National Day celebrations.

Participants came from all walks of life, including current and former Team Qatar athletes, ambassadors, diplomatic core, nearly 800 schoolchildren, 10 cancer survivors, as well as hundreds from the public.

The flag's journey took it through many key landmarks where it was welcomed and celebrated by participants.

The flag was transported via different sporting activities including cycling, running, swimming and more which reflected the strength and depth of Team Qatar athletes.

Commenting on Flag Relay 2018, HE Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad al-Thani, President of Qatar Olympic Committee said: "The second edition of the Flag Relay has united the hearts and minds of more than 1,500 people under one flag. They came together in harmony and solidarity to express love for Qatar side by side with our athletes who continue to inspire us all as we celebrate National Day."

"Our flag will always be the beacon that lights our path to guide us towards more success and glory to make our nation proud. I would like to sincerely thank all the participants and partners who contributed to the success of this event," HE Sheikh Joaan added.

Hundreds of participants exchanged the Qatari flag as it travelled through iconic landmarks around the country, starting from Team Qatar's Winter Camp in Sealine and transporting it towards a grand finale at Aspire Park.

"It is events like this that give me tremendous confidence and hope about the future of Qatar. The show of unity and solidarity among citizens and residents from all cultures, backgrounds, and fields was unrivalled. We are grateful to everyone who shared with us the celebration of the flag and made this event a day to remember," HE Jassim Rashid al-Buenain, Secretary General of Qatar Olympic Committee, said.

This edition of the Flag Relay invited a diverse number of expat communities to participate and raise the flag with Team Qatar athletes and be part of the country's celebrations.

"I was very proud to be part of the celebration and carry the flag while riding my motorbike. It was an opportunity for my whole community to come together and show unity and solidarity for Qatar and I'm honoured to share these feelings with my fellow members of the community," said Margarita Zuniga, Qatari, Historian Officer Qatar Chapter.

Meanwhile, Jawaher al-Mutawa, Flag Relay ambassador who carried the flag at The Pearl, was excited to show what it means for her as a Qatari woman to be part of the occasion.

"As a Qatari woman, today meant so much to me. Not only did I carry the flag at such a glorious occasion but also, I represented women and I hope that inspires some of them to take up sport and seek their passions," al-Mutawa said.

The day ended with celebrations at Aspire Park where a gathering of Team Qatar athletes, stakeholders of Qatar Olympic Committee and the public came together to watch the finale.

Team Qatar's squash player Abdulla al-Tamimi was one of three athletes making the final act as Flag Relay 2018 came to an end after uniting a nation and inspiring solidarity and hope.

"I've been blessed enough to carry Qatar's flag at the Asian Games and today as I raised it again for Flag Relay the feeling of pride and honour was as strong. Raising that flag carries so many emotions that no words can describe.

I hope I will continue to raise it in front of my people and the whole world," al-Tamimi said.

Standing beside him was Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdullah al-Thani, the first Qatari to climb Mount Everest, who said: "Carrying the maroon flag today brought back so many proud memories from the top of Mount Everest when I raised it there. It's a great honour to be able to represent my country and celebrate with my community at such a great occasion."

Qatar Olympic Committee extended its thanks to the sponsors and suppliers for their support, namely: Abdullah Abdulghani and Bros, Co, Abu Issa Holding, Aspire Zone Foundation, Baladna, National Tourism Committee, Al Meera and Hamad Medical Corporation.

Qatar Olympic Committee also thanked the media for their continuous support to bring coverage of the event to the public.

Flag Relay also could not have taken place without the support of Sealine, Hamad International Airport, Mesherb Properties, Hamad Medical Hospital, Museum of Islamic Art, Katara, The Pearl, Qatar University, Lusail City, and Qatar Foundation.

Each partner, supplier, athlete and participant saw the value of Flag Relay 2018 and how it aims to unite the community on this important occasion.

Flag Relay aimed to demonstrate what it means to be #IAmQatar; the campaign that was launched to encourage the nation to come together and support Team Qatar at the Asian Games Jakarta-Palembang 2018.

Qatar Olympic Committee wanted to share the success of its athletes with the nation and to highlight that the athlete's successes are in due part to the support and backing of its nation.

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