As ever as Qatar, the sports industry on the peninsula is expanding rapidly. As Qatar is making headlines for hosting international sports events, as the 2006 Asian Games and upcoming 2020 FIFA World Cup, Qatari athletes have been making their way into the international spotlight.
Even though Qatar is a country where football dominates both in fandom and practitioners, athletes from several sport disciplines are achieving on the international level.
The most spoken of Qatari athlete of the day, Akram Afif will become the first Qatari to play in La Liga, after he signed with Villarreal CF a few weeks ago. The Aspire graduate also plays for the Qatar national football team, and has played for the Qatar national under-20 football team. He is considered to be one of the most promising Qatari football players.
Mutaz Essa Barshim
Specializing in high jump, this Qatari track and field athlete is the national record and Asian record holder with a best mark of 2.43 meters. Being the Asian Indoor and World Junior champion in 2010, he proceeded to win the high jump gold medals at the 2011 Asian Athletics Championships and 2011 Military World Games. He also won the bronze medal at the 2012 Olympic Games held in London, with a height of 2.29 meters.
Was the first ever woman to represent Qatar in the Olympics when she competed in the 50 meter freestyle swimming at the 2012 Summer Olympics. She is the daughter of former Qatari national football team goalkeeper and Al Sadd player Mohamed Arakji. The veteran served on the bid committee for Doha’s bid to host the 2020 Summer Olympics.
Named the Best Female Athlete of the Year 2011-2012 by the Qatar Olympic Committee, the rifle shooter qualified for the 2010 Youth Olympic Games, where she also served as the flag bearer at the Opening Ceremony. She placed 17th of 56 shooters at the 2012 Summer Olympics 10 meter air rifle event.
The rally champion is also a sport shooter, winning the bronze medal at the men’s skeet event at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. The Qatari rally driver was the 2006 Production World Rally Champion, an eight-time Middle East Rally Champion, 2014 WRC2 champion. He is also the only Middle Eastern to win Dakar rally, and twice, in 2011 and 2015.