(MENAFN- The Peninsula) QNA
Doha: In 2021, Qatar continued its position as a leader in sports in the Middle East. It proved itself as the capital of Arab and international sports by hosting many tournaments and events that confirm its global position. This year witnessed further achievements and successes at all sports fields despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
Qatar successfully hosted the FIFA Arab Cup Qatar 2021, held for the first time under the world football governing body from November 30 to December 18.
Amir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani attended the tournament's closing ceremony at Al Bayt Stadium and handed Algeria the Cup after their final victory over Tunisia.
Qatar national team players celebrate during the FIFA Arab Cup Qatar 2021.
The Qatari National Team finished in third place after defeating Egypt 5-4 in penalties, which was held at 974 Stadium. Akram Afif, the star of the Qatari team, won the bronze ball as the third-best player in the tournament, which witnessed an unparalleled success and came as a rehearsal before the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
Qatar also organised the Formula 1 Qatar Grand Prix for the first time at the Losail International Circuit.
Red Bull's Max Verstappen at the Losail International Circuit during the Formula One Qatar Grand Prix on November 20, 2021.
The most prominent Qatari achievements in 2021 were those of the 2020 Summer Olympics medalists. Qatari athletes obtained two gold medals and a bronze medal. Fares Ibrahim won the gold medal in the 96kg weightlifting competition after lifting 402kg. The second gold medal went to Mutaz Barshim in the high jump competition after achieving a height of 2.37 meters to win the gold with Italian Gianmarco Tamberi. Ahmed Tejan and Sherif Younis won the bronze in the beach volleyball competition, the first Arab medal in a non-individual game in the history of the Olympics.
In the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, Abdulrahman Abdulqadir also won the bronze for the men's shot put F34 event. He had won silver at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) won the National Olympic Committees' (NOC) Breakthrough Award by the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC). QOC President H E Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al-Thani received the award at the ANOC Awards 2021 held on the sidelines of the ANOC General Assembly in Crete, Greece.
In the World Weightlifting Championships hosted in Uzbekistan, weightlifter Fares Ibrahim bagged two medals (gold and silver) in the 96 kg weight competition this December. Fares won the gold medal in the netter lift after lifting 222 kg. The silver medal was won in the group with a total weight of 394 kg (222 kg for the nitro and 172 kg for the snatch).
The Olympic football team qualified for the AFC U-23 Cup finals to be hosted by Uzbekistan next year, drawing 1-1 with its Syria at Khalifa International Stadium.
Doha also hosted the CAF Super Cup match between Egyptian club Al-Ahly and Morocco's Raja Club. Al Ahly won the Cup after defeating Raja 6-5 in penalties.
As part of the World Cup preparations, the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Official Countdown Clock was unveiled on November 21 in a special celebration in Doha Corniche, marking one year to the start of the tournament.
The swimming team won the age groups competitions at the 28th GCC Aquatics Championships held in Doha from August 19 to 22, claiming 52 medals (30 gold, 15 silver, and seven bronze).
The team also bagged 30 medals, including 11 gold, nine silver, and 10 bronze, winning first place for the 16-18 years category, in the first Arab championship for age groups in the short course (25 meters), which was held in the UAE from October 24 to 27.
Also, in October, the Qatar Swimming Association organised the third round of the Swimming World Cup 2021 in the short course (25 meters) at Hamad Water Sports Complex. It lasted for three days with the participation of the world's most prominent swimmers.
In handball, Al Duhail Club won the 23rd Asian Championship for Men's Handball Champions League in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in June, beating Kuwait 27/24 in the final.
Qatar successfully hosted for the first time the Men's and Women's Padel Championship (Qatar 2021) in November with 16 teams, including Qatar.
Qatar Tennis, Squash, and Badminton Federation (QTSBF) hosted the first main round of the Qatar Classic Squash Championship 2021. The federation also organized the Qatar ExxonMobil Tennis Championship for men, one of the 250-point ATP tours, and Qatar Total Women's Tennis, one of the WTA Tours at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex.
In motorsports, Losail International Circuit hosted the Grand Prix of Qatar from March 26 to 28, and the Doha Grand Prix was held from April 2 to 4. Qatari driver Nasser Al Attiyah won the 2021 FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies after claiming the 30th Abu Dhabi Desert Rally.
Qatar's Khalid Al Mohannadi also won the European Championship, the first round of the World Aquabike Championships in Poland. After coming fourth in the second round, Al Mohannadi maintained the lead in the junior category in the World Aquabike Championships.
The Qatari championships continue, with the Qatari cyclist Saeed Al Sulaiti winning the Spanish CIV Open (SSP) 600 season after first place in the sixth and final round, which was held over two days at the Jerez circuit in Spain.
Qatar's Yousef Al Darwish finished sixth in the open category and third place in the Yamaha R6 Cup.
Qatar Billiards and Snooker Federation hosted three major tournaments in September, beginning with the Asian Snooker Championship with over 100 players from 30 countries. It also hosted the Six-Ball World Snooker Championship and the Gulf Combined Billiards and Snooker Championship.
The Qatar national futsal team qualified for the first time to the finals of the 2022 World Cup scheduled for Russia from August 26 to September 11 next year.
At the club level, Al-Arabi Volleyball Club finished second in the Asian Men's Club Volleyball Championship in Thailand.
Qatar Equestrian recorded many achievements after many Qatari horses won the most prominent races held throughout 2021 in Europe.
In addition to organising more than 50 local races, most notably His Highness The Amir Sword Festival, Qatar Equestrian Federation also organized the His Highness The Amir Sword Festival for show jumping.
In golf, Qatari players participated in regional and continental tournaments, most notably Ali Al Shahrani winning the Qatar Open Championship.
Aspire Zone Foundation was also able to enhance its leadership in global sports through its three members, Aspetar, Aspire Academy, and Aspire Logistics.
As part of Qatar's pioneering efforts in the sports fields, Doha hosted the Judo World Masters Championship from Jan 11 to 13, which included the best 36 players from the world's top-ranked players in each weight with 400 participating athletes, including 215 male and 185 female representing 70 countries.
Qatar is also scheduled to host the 2023 Judo World Masters Championship, which serves as a qualification for the 2024 Olympics.
In June, the Qatari Taekwondo team won four medals at the 24th Asian Championship, held in Beirut, with 334 male and female players representing 17 countries.
Qatari shooter Rashid Saleh Hamad also bagged bronze in February in the mixed skeet competition as part of the Arab Shooting Championship 2021, which was organized in Egypt. In March, Nasser Saleh Al Attiyah also claimed the bronze medal for the men's skeet event in the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup in New Delhi. The Qatari shooting team achieved the silver medal in the team skeet event.
Qatar hosted the Fencing Grand Prix 2021, won by American Gerek Meinhardt. Russian Inna Derglazova won the women's title.
The Qatar Table Tennis Association also hosted the first edition of the combined Middle East Championship, in cooperation with the World Table Tennis Association (WTT), at the Lusail Multipurpose Hall.
World Olympic Qualifiers and the Asian Olympic Table Tennis Qualifiers for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games were also held in Doha.
Qatar ranked second in the Arab Table Tennis Championship in Jordan, after the Qatari national team players bagged 19 medals in team, singles, and doubles competitions, including four gold medals to occupy second place in the overall standings.
Doha hosted the second edition of the WTT Star Contender Championship and the 25th Asian Table Tennis Championship for men and women, a qualifier for the World Championships in China 2022.
Doha hosted the West Asian Rugby Championship, where the Qatari men's team finished third. Qatar, the UAE, Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon, Iran, and Syria participated. Qatar finished second in the women's championship. Doha also hosted the final Asian qualifiers for the Cricket World Cup (Australia 2022). Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, and the Maldives participated.