Qatar is setting sail to revive the Gulf’s heritage hosting the first-ever GCC Traditional Pearl Diving Competition, it was announced yesterday.
“This event aims to revive and maintain the Gulf heritage and link the modern generation with their ancestors’ lives for them to appreciate their ancestors’ hard work during the olden times,” explained Hamad Mohammed Al Tamimi, General Manager during yesterday’s press conference.
With most GCC countries already signed participation in the contest, the Qatar Marine Festival Organizing Committee is all set for the three-day long competition from June 1 to 3.
The competition is only one of the many heritage events being organised by the QMFOC under the support of H H Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al Missned who spares no effort in preserving the heritage and cultural values of people in the Gulf, said Al Tamimi.
Each country will be represented by two 16-member teams composed of sailors and expert divers who will be vying for a number of awards including the highest number of oysters, the largest and finest pearl, the longest time under water, the highest number of pearls and the best dhow.
Stressing the QMFOC’s keenness to present a model first edition of the competition, Al Tamimi added the event took into account all the environmental requirements coordinating with concerned authorities to ensure zero damage to the rich marine environment of Qatar.
Instructions were also issued to all participants who will be allowed to use only tools utilized in the early times for pearl diving; the most important means to protect coral reefs, fish and other sea creatures.
“Traditional diving is an integral part of culture in Gulf countries representing a solid bridge between old and modern generations which has an important role in promoting traditional culture in the modern society with its journey towards the future,” Al Tamimi said.
Folkloric performances will also feature in the cultural event highlighting the traditional ceremonies of ‘Al Dasha’ (departure of the divers) and ‘Al Qafal’ (arrival of the divers with sea treasures).
Since the participants have to stay aboard their dhows for three days, the organizers have coordinated with the coastguard and will have a medical team and stand-by speedboats to ensure safety of everyone.
The event is opened for public viewing and trips to the diving location throughout the competition will be organised with special invitations to students of schools making the event a learning experience.
An extravaganza celebrating the culmination of the competition will be organised on June 4 at the Villaggio Mall which will feature stellar performances by singers from Qatar and the GCC and the awarding of prizes broadcast live via QTV.
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