The fourth edition of the Ooredoo Tour of Champions 2020 kicks off

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The Ooredoo Tour of Champions 2020, which is organized annually by the Qatar Drago Center under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture and Sports, proves that fun does not interfere with safety in 2020. The event, in its fourth year, witnessed the participation of more than 1,700 champions between the ages of 3 and 68 years from more than 70 countries around the world. The tour included, for the first time, wheelchairs and “handcycles”. The event witnessed an unprecedented turnout of participants, exceeding the previous record in 2019, which was attended by more than 1,500 competitors. A number of public figures and state representatives participated in the event.
The event encourages exercise and healthy living by participating in one of six bike rides suitable for all ages and experience levels, in addition to the opportunity to win valuable prizes provided by event partners through competitions on social media.
After making its debut in 2016 in support of the Road Cycling World Championships, the Tour of Champions has become the most anticipated event for cycling fans in Qatar. Indeed, this year’s Tour of Champions 2020 was different than ever.
Dr. Mohamed Jaham Al-Kuwari, President of the Qatar Cycling and Triathlon Federation, expressed his delight at the re-organization of this event, saying: “It is great to see the progress of this event over the years. This year reflected a new record for the growth of the cycling community in Qatar. Being the founder of Qatar Cyclists Center, there is nothing that could make me happier and more proud.”
Hamad Al Khaja, Head of Technical Support for Events and Festivals at the National Tourism Council commented: “The National Tourism Council is pleased to support Tour of Champions once again. The National Tourism Council has been supportive of the Ooredoo Tour of Champions. Since its first editions and we’ve seen an exponential growth in the event’s success over the years, with great participation from all over the world. Although this year’s event could not host international riders, it was encouraging to see the enthusiasm from the local community that reflected the spirit of success and celebration of the power of the sport.”
Al Khaja added: “We are working at the National Tourism Council to take advantage of the remarkable development witnessed by the tourism industry, in order to strengthen Qatar’s position as a center for sports tourism. As we prepare to host the world’s largest sporting event in 2022, we also look forward to the growth and recognition of sports competitions such as the Ooredoo Tour of Champions on the global stage.”
Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari, President of Qatar Cyclists Center, said: “The organizing team, government agencies, the host venue in Education City, Qatar Foundation, event partners and the Qatari cycling community in 2020 showed a great deal of flexibility and cooperation to ensure a great event and for the physical and mental well-being of the participants in light of The challenges we faced, in a year when there were few opportunities to celebrate sports and enjoy shared community moments.”
Hamad Al Jaidi, Co-General Manager of Ooredoo Ride of Champions, added: “For 2020, this year’s event included a strict set of protocols to prevent infection with the Coronavirus, by following all government guidelines and safe health best practices, including pre-event screening and screening. Temperatures at registration and entry points to the event. In addition to the start and end protocols, which were keen to achieve social distancing, the teams assigned to the event are working to ensure compliance with the protocols and eliminate all non-essential activities and areas in the event, including the VIP area, media centers and fans area. In addition, it was decided in 2020 to present all prizes and lotteries to the participants by transferring the draw events online or taking them after the event while maintaining the rules of social distancing.”
By following safety and prevention measures, individuals and companies in Qatar are able to continue their efforts in promoting a healthy lifestyle. Sabah Rabia Al Kuwari, Director of Public Relations, Ooredoo, said: “Supporting events that encourage a healthy active lifestyle is a priority. Important to Ooredoo, and an important part of our corporate social responsibility strategy, and our commitment to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. We have had several challenging months without any events due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so seeing so many riders enjoying the Tour of Champions was very encouraging. We hope that everyone enjoyed it as much as we did, and we hope to meet you next year, God willing.”
It was decided to postpone the event from March 2020 due to the risk of the emerging epidemic of the Corona virus, with the unanimity of the organizers and the support of the Qatar Foundation hosting the event, along with the rest of the partners. The new date was set on November 13, 2020, after developing a complete plan and adding new protocols for prevention with the approval of the Ministry of Public Health, which provided the opportunity for a record number of participants to enjoy the experience in safety.
Mohamed Fakhro, Executive Director of External Communications and Corporate Relations Development, said: “Due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, and due to health and safety measures, which are one of our priorities at Qatar Foundation, a focus has been placed on organizing virtual events. At this point and in conjunction with the new measures implemented nationwide regarding the establishment of certain outdoor sports activities while adhering to health guidelines, we are pleased to host the 2020 Ooredoo Tournament on Friday, with emphasis on health and safety standards. Through this, we aspire to be a role model in promoting community participation in line with the current situation.”
Among the amendments: the use of “precaution” and temperature measurement, in addition to obligating all attendees to wear protective masks and gloves in and around the celebration hall. Binding health forms have also been developed and social distancing is applied at all times.
All modifications to the course of the event were designed to support the health and safety of participants, staff and the wider community.
In implementation of the preventive measures, some modifications were made, such as canceling the platform at the end of the race and the lunch party. Instead, the contestants received a canned lunch while leaving the celebration hall in Education City, Qatar Foundation, and the transfer of the prize draw this year to social networking sites, allowing all participants and residents of Qatar an opportunity to win With prizes presented by the official partners of the event.
The Ooredoo Tour of Champions this year is considered the most comprehensive public event in the history of Qatar, where everyone has the opportunity to participate, regardless of age, gender, physical and mental ability. The oldest participant was 68 years old, while the youngest participant was 3 years old. Moreover, more than 40 contestants participated in the new round of all abilities, which included wheelchairs and handcycles. More than 20 contestants participated in the Best Buddies Tour. This year’s Tour of Champions is a living testament to everyone’s ability to enjoy cycling in Qatar.
As the sun rose on Friday, November 13th on the event hall, decked out in the event’s three colors of red, orange and maroon, runners arrived to prepare for the three main races. As is typical of the Tour of Champions, bikes were provided to all participants who did not bring their own bikes. In addition to the bike rental service provided by Qatar cyclists, Rasan Sports has provided free maintenance to all participants to encourage the cycling experience.
The first round started at 06:00 am with the experienced riders taking off for the 137.5 km race. The riders adhered to social distancing at the starting line and the start was scheduled to maintain social distancing. The tour tracks were chosen so that the riders could enjoy the beauty of the scenic nature in the desert of Qatar and review the sports tourism sector.
The tour was accompanied by a delegation of traffic policemen on motorcycles to secure the riders on the open roads, in addition to vehicles provided by GMC to support the contestants whose numbers exceeded expectations. The organizers praised the efforts of the traffic police and their keenness on the safety of the runners.
At 08:00 am, all eyes turned to the Green Spine, where the programs for children were held. 100 young riders and their friends participated in the first race as part of the “Best Buddies Qatar” initiative, which was established by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser in 2008 to contribute to the integration of people with mild or moderate intellectual disabilities and those with developmental disabilities in education, the workforce and the local community in the State of Qatar. Qatar cyclists provided bikes to all participating children.
The second race was 1 km and included children from 3 to 8 years old, who numbered more than 100 cyclists. This is followed by the most popular race, the Family Tour, which extends for 5.8 km within the Qatar Foundation.
“I was delighted to participate in the Ooredoo Tour of Champions today and support cycling in Qatar. Cycling in Belgium is innate and that is why we have many cycling champions and perhaps the most famous of them is Eddie Merckx. Cycling is great for many reasons, one of them being health. It encourages you to move your own way and exercise your muscles, bones and heart. It is also a useful means of transportation for the environment. Its use reduces the number of cars and its impact on the environment. But for that change to happen, cycling must be fun and safe. Therefore, Qatar’s efforts in spreading the infrastructure and places to use bicycles are commendable. Finally, I would like to encourage a positive attitude towards the spread of bicycles on the roads, which entails spreading awareness, which makes the Tour of Champions an excellent initiative.”
Hassan Al Emadi, General Manager of Dolphin Energy in Qatar, commented on the company’s sponsorship of the race, saying: “It is a great happiness when we see the Champions Race back on the calendar of sporting events, after it was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and it will be organized according to social distancing measures. and other preventive instructions from the Ministry of Public Health. Many of the initiatives we support encourage the local community to lead an active and healthy lifestyle, and we are proud to be sponsoring this event for the second year in a row. It is great that the participants are able to get outdoors to exercise and have fun together in a safe and sound manner, as many of them put so much effort into training to participate in the event early this year, and I wish them and the event organizers the best of luck.”
A new challenge arose among companies to form a team and compete with other famous companies from across Qatar in the context of encouraging workers to exercise and follow a healthy lifestyle. Prizes will be awarded to the most contributing companies based on the number of participants and the time allotted for participation.
To avoid crowding, the organizers organized the contestants after crossing the finish line in a row, keeping their distance, to receive the medals and lunch before the event ended. In addition to holding the prize draw online through the official account of the Champions Tour on Instagram, allowing all residents of Qatar to participate.
“As the ambassador of one of the most popular cycling countries in the world – everyone knows about the Tour de France / Tour de France – I had the pleasure of participating in such an impressive event and I would like to congratulate Qatar Cyclists Center and Ooredoo for the well-organised. The beauty of Education City tempted me to linger for two full hours to enjoy the unique architectural aspects that cannot be achieved from a car. It was a fun time and I will be on tour next year for sure.”
The day ended with great success, with hundreds participating in competitions on social media for a chance to win valuable prizes presented by the official partners of the event such as Turkish Airlines, Resan Riyadi and Garmin Al-Lingawi.
The organizers of Qatar Cyclists Center would like to thank Official Partner Ooredoo, Host Qatar Foundation and Partners Dolphin Energy, National Tourism Council and Turkish Airlines. In addition to the support provided by vital government institutions, the Ministry of Culture and Sports, the Qatar Cycling Federation and the Traffic Police for the success of the event, and the approval of the Ministry of Public Health to hold the event. The organizers also thank the event’s sponsors, Garmin Al Linjawi, Rasan Al Riyadi, Rayan Water, Aspetar, GMC, and Tamkeen partners for their contribution to providing the opportunity for everyone to participate in Best Buddies and Qatar accessible to all. All the supporters of the Ooredoo Tour of Champions 2020 have shown a lot of enthusiasm to participate this year.
Turkish Airlines is proud to be the official air partner of the Tour of Champions and to play a positive role in supporting the Qatari leadership in its vision of making Qatar a healthy and active society.” Director of Turkish Airlines Qatar: Mr. Mehmet Zengal.
Dr. said. Abdulaziz Jaham Al-Kuwari, CEO of Aspetar: “In the beginning, I would like to thank Ooredoo for organizing this wonderful event. imposed by this pandemic. The team of Aspetar and Aspire Zone employees will participate in various competitions, Aspetar always supports such initiatives that aim to promote healthy and active lifestyles, and we encourage the largest number of people to join the event and participate in it.”
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