Discover Qatar’s hidden sporting treasures after the 2022 FIFA World Cup: from kite surfing to tennis to a dedicated sports museum

A few months after Lionel Messi lifted the trophy, the echo of the 2022 FIFA World Cup can still be felt in Qatar.

Billboards promoting the event, signs directing fans to the stadiums and national flags still adorn the main streets around Doha.

Editor’s Note: The author traveled to Qatar as a guest of Qatar Tourism.

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Qatar became the first Middle Eastern nation to host the event last November – a culmination of more than a decade of planning.

Whole suburbs were built behind the scenes to accommodate the expected influx of visitors and new residents.

Meanwhile, stadiums have been built in new and unconventional ways, including one made from shipping containers.

Qatar is also hoping that the World Cup will have a lasting impact on tourist numbers, particularly for sports fans.

A sign advertising the World Aquatic Championships in Doha. Credit:
Tourists and locals still come out every night to take photos of the World Cup promotional materials – months after the event has ended. Credit:

Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker, who is also the country’s tourism minister, said during a recent press conference that the goal is to triple the number of annual visitors compared to 2019.

One way to achieve that goal is by promoting other sports that the country hosts, he said.

When Qatar was named to host the 2022 World Cup in 2010, it was selected ahead of bids from the United States, South Korea, Japan and Australia.

It encountered several obstacles during the bid process as the football governing body FIFA raised concerns in technical reports.

These included the lack of infrastructure and the extreme heat in the region in summer, when World Cup tournaments are traditionally held.

Ultimately, however, it won the historic bid by 14 votes to the United States’ eight votes in the final round of voting.

Controversy leading up to the World Cup did not deter visitors, many of whom would likely not have Qatar high on their holiday destination lists.

Now that football has clearly risen to the top of the sporting scene, Qatar are keen to remind the world that there’s more going on than some might believe.

The Khalifa International Stadium – which is connected to the 3-2-1 Olympic and Sports Museum. Credit:
Olympic torches, including those from the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, are on display at the museum. Credit:

A number of sporting events, including many involving Australians, take place in the small Middle Eastern nation.

Last month the ATP Qatar Open took place, which is worth 250 points in the world tennis rankings.

Russia’s world No. 5 Daniil Medvedev won the men’s singles, while Poland’s world No. 1 Iga Swiatek won the women’s side of the tournament.

The Australians were also in action in Qatar, with Jason Kubler making the Round of 32 and almost defeating Christopher O’Connell Medvedev in the quarter-finals.

Golfers from around the world also compete in the annual Qatar Masters in March, with free tickets open to the public.

The first round of the Qatar Open 2023. Credit:
Australia’s Jason Kubler won his first-round match against Russia’s Aslan Karatsev. Credit:

But one of the lesser-known sports hosting a leg of the world tour is kitesurfing.

On Qatar’s north coast, a resort called Fuwairit Kite Beach hosts dozens of beginner and experienced kitesurfers.

The landscape with long sand dunes that meet the beach offers ideal wind conditions for surfers.

During competition season, all rooms in the resort are booked by competitors, fans or judges.

Off-peak, workers teach beginners and tourists how to kitesurf in a hands-on master class.

The kitesurf resort in northern Qatar. Credit:
Beginners are equipped with a trapeze at Fuwairit Beach. Credit:

The resort, which is managed on a daily basis by British expat Sarah Lord, was first designed in 2019 and held its first world tour event in early 2023, despite the pandemic.

For those who prefer to learn about sport rather than participate or watch it live, Qatar has a museum dedicated to sport.

The 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum is a national and international center for sports history.

It only opened in the months leading up to the World Cup and is adjacent to the Khalifa International Stadium, one of eight stadiums used for the soccer tournament.

Memorabilia in the 3-2-1 Museum – signed by the players in the FIFA World Cup Final. Credit:

Covering 19,000 square meters, the museum brings together sports memorabilia as the sport has evolved through time – from the opening of the Olympic Games in ancient Greece to Cathy Freeman’s gold medal in the women’s 400m at the Sydney 2000 games .

The museum, like many of Qatar’s famous landmarks, was designed by a European architect.

The numeric part of its name was inspired by the countdown at sporting events.

Even so, the giant screen that counted down to the 2023 FIFA World Cup kicks off stands in the heart of Doha, a reminder of the event the country hopes to turn into tourism gold. Discover Qatar’s hidden sporting treasures after the 2022 FIFA World Cup: from kite surfing to tennis to a dedicated sports museum

James Brien

James Brien is a 24ssports U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. James Brien joined 24ssports in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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