Doha is the capital and most populous city of Qatar, with over 80% of country’s popular living in the city or surrounding areas. The city has hosted a number of international sports events such as the 2006 Asian Games, 2011 Pan Arab Games, the majority of matches at the 2011 AFC Asian Cup and the 2019 World Athletics Championships. The city will also a number of matches at the 2022 FIFA World Cup and is set to host the Asian Games for a second time in 2030.
Doha also annually hosts some fantastic sports events, including the Qatar Masters European Tour golf event, the Qatar Open tennis event and the Doha Diamond League athletics meet whilst the wider area has some world class venues.
Sport in Doha
Football in Doha
There are numerous teams based in the Doha area that play in the Qatar Stars League:
- Al Sadd are the most successful club in the country having won the league multiple times and the AFC Champions League twice before (1989 & 2011). Well known international players to play for the club include former Spanish internationals Raúl, and Xavi. The club play at the Jassim bin Hamad Stadium.
- Al-Arabi experienced much success in the 1980s and 90s, winning multiple league and cup titles. Former Argentina striker Gabriel Batistuta played for the squad between 2003 and 2005, with club playing their matches at the 13,000 capacity Grand Hamad Stadium.
- Al-Rayyan have won the league several times and had former Dutch international play for the club between 2004 and 2005. Their home stadium is the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, a 40,000 stadium that has recently been renovated ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
- Al-Duhail were the first team in Qatari football to win the league on its debut season in 2011 and have since won the title numerous times. They play at the 9,000 capacity Abdullah bin Khalifa Stadium.
- Al-Gharafa have won the league a number of times, with former international players for the club including Paulo Wanchope, Wesley Sneijder and Marcel Desailly. They play at the Thani bin Jassim Stadium, alongside Umm-Salal SC – a 21,000 capacity stadium in the Al Gharrafa district.
- The Qatar SC have won the league several times and play at the 15,000 seater Suheim bin Hamad Stadium.
- Both Al-Sailiya and Al Ahli play at the Hamad bin Khalifa Stadium, with a capacity of 12,000.
Hosting the tournament has led to a large construction project, with six new football stadiums with a capacity of at least 40,000 being built – the largest being the 80,000 Lusail Iconic Stadium to complement the long standing Khalifa International Stadium.
Golf in Doha
The Doha Golf Club has hosted the Qatar Masters European Tour event since 1998, an event previously won by top players such as Ernie Els, Henrik Stenson, Adam Scott, Thomas Bjørn and Sergio Garcia. The tournament moved to the purpose built Education City Golf Club in 2020.
Motorsport in Doha
20 kilometres north of Doha, the Losail International Circuit in Lusail has hosted the annual Qatar motorcycle Grand Prix since 2004, in 2008 becoming the first night race in MotoGP and in 2021 hosted Formula One’s first Qatar Grand Prix.
Tennis in Doha
The Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex in Doha hosts the Qatar Open, a men’s and women’s professional tennis tournament although they are held independent from each other. The men’s ATP event was first played in 1993 and is usually held in early January, with previously winners including top players such as Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
The women’s event is usually played in mid-February and was first held in 2001. Previous winners include Martina Hingis, Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka. The tournament is one of the WTA’s Premier tournaments, although it wasn’t held in 2009 and 2010 as the venue hosted the WTA Tour Championships from 2008 to 2010.
Athletics in Doha
The Doha Diamond League meeting has been held annually at the Suheim bin Hamad Stadium since 1997, an event that forms part of the Diamond League. The 2019 World Athletics Championships were also held at the Khalifa International Stadium.
Camel Racing in Doha
Camel Racing is a traditional sport in Qatar, with racing usually held between October and April. The country’s primary racing venue is the Al-Shahaniya Camel Racetrack, about 45 minutes drive from central Doha.
Travelling to Doha
The Hamad International Airport is ranked as one of the best in the world and is an important hub in the region, with Qatar Airways in particular offering flights to a number of international destinations.
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Where to stay in Doha
Food & Drink in Doha
What to do in Doha
The 7 kilometre long Corniche gives a fantastic view across West Bay to the city’s skyline, especially in the evening when the buildings are lit up. The brilliant Museum of Islamic Art offers a treasure trove of art, drawn from three continents over 1400 years. Souq Waqif is still the traditional heart of the city having been on this site for centuries, whilst the adjacent Falcon Souq gives a real insight into the heritage of the city.