Along with top-class football, fans from across the country enjoyed a host of engaging activities during the inauguration of Al Thumama Stadium. The dazzling 40,000-capacity venue became the sixth tournament-ready stadium for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 when it hosted the 49th HH the Amir Cup Final between Al Rayyan and Al Sadd.
As part of the festivities, the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC), along with various stakeholders, notably the Ministry of Culture (MOC), Ministry of Youth and Sports (MOYS), the National Museum of Qatar (NMOQ) and Friends of the Environment Centre (FOE), organized an array of entertainment outside the stadium. Many of the activities paid tribute to the venue's unique design, which resembles the 'gahfiya' - a woven cap worn by men and boys in Qatar and across the region.
Among the various displays outside the stadium, which will host matches up to the quarter-finals stage during Qatar 2022, was a head-wear exhibition showcasing different traditional hats and caps from around the world. Fans were also invited to take part in a crowdsourced public art installation. In addition, cultural performances were held by a variety of local community groups, including from Qatar, Sudan, Palestine, India and Kenya.
Each fan also received a gahfiya inscribed with the stadium's name, while the opening ceremony, complete with music and lights, detailed the origins of the clothing. Among the performances was an enactment of the children's game 'Tag Tag Tageya'.
Khaled Al Suwaidi, the SC's Stakeholder Relations Senior Manager, said:
"We are proud to have played a role in the successful inauguration of another FIFA World Cup venue. Al Thumama is an especially poignant stadium for us as the design pays tribute to an important piece of clothing in our culture. Many of our activities revolved around the gahfiya - which is a link between countries across the Middle East and Arab world. It is also a source of great pride that this is the first World Cup stadium to be designed by a Qatari architect - something else we were keen to celebrate through various engagement activities."
"I would like to thank our various stakeholders for their unwavering support and strong collaboration. Yet again, they helped us to deliver a memorable event for the people of Qatar."
Aisha Al Mahmoud, MOC's Director of Public Relations and Communications, said:
"With just over a year to go until the World Cup, everyone in the country is excited to take part in this historic event. This includes taking part in important milestones such as stadium inaugurations, especially when they coincide with the hosting of the prestigious Amir Cup. Working closely with the SC is a confirmation of our commitment to ensure a distinctive cultural experience for football fans in 2022. Culture and sports constitute two important pillars in expressing Qatar's identity by emphasizing the values of excellence and creativity."
NMOQ helped organise a range of activities that celebrated the stadium's design, including gahfiya knitting, a photo booth, and T-shirt printing. The museum also hosted a seminar by Al Thumama Stadium architect, Ibrahim M. Jaidah, where he discussed the inspiration behind the venue's design in detail.
Fatima Barakat Al Kuwari, Associate Director of Learning and Outreach at NMOQ, said:
"The stadium's unique design is something that we were honored to celebrate. Having a World Cup stadium inspired by a quintessential part of our culture enabled us to create a series of activities and workshops that were both educational and fun."
NMOQ also oversaw a series of activations in the lead-up to the match, including a workshop to raise awareness about the 'Thumam', an indigenous plant named in honor of the stadium. This session was organized in partnership with FOE at Kahramaa Awareness Park and delivered to children from the Al Dana Girls Centre, Al Ahli Sports Club Youth Committee, as well as several schools across Qatar. In addition, as part of Msheireb's Talk Green event for Qatar Sustainability Week, FOE organized a series of agricultural and environmental awareness sessions that feature the local plant.
Dr. Farhood Al Hajri, Executive Director of FOE, said:
"With sustainability playing such a central role in Qatar 2022, including the design of Al Thumama Stadium, we were keen to partner with the SC to raise awareness about the sustainability features of the stadium's design and the Al Thumam plant, which was renamed in honour of this momentous occasion."
Source: Qatar News Agency
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