The stage is set for the Katara International Arabian Horse Festival, which will feature a prestigious show with a huge prize money and wide international participation.
The festival will be held at the Katara esplanade from February 2-6 under the patronage of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.
On Wednesday, a press conference was held at Katara where officials gave details of the event.
The festival will be held amid Covid-19 precautionary measures to ensure the safety of the participants and attendees, in co-ordination with the Ministry of Public Health, Qatar News Agency said in a report.
One of the highlights of the festival is the Title Show, a contest for purebred Arabian horses that will carry a prize money of QR13mn, one of the highest awarded for such an event.
Katara esplanade getting ready for the festival
The press conference was attended by Katara general manager and chairman of the Organising Committee Prof Khalid bin Ibrahim al-Sulaiti, Title Show director Bader Mohamed al-Darwish and representatives of the companies and organisations sponsoring the event.
Prof al-Sulaiti stressed the significance of the first edition of the Katara International Arabian Horse Festival as it is being held under the patronage of His Highness the Amir.
He said the festival embodies one of the oldest and most prestigious sporting events dedicated to the beauty of purebred Arabian horses, noting that Qatar is famous as a global centre for equestrian excellence and is a world leader in the ownership and breeding of purebred Arabian horses.
He noted that Katara is organising the festival in co-operation with Qatar Equestrian Federation, Qatar Racing & Equestrian Club and Qatar Foundation. This stems from its constant and continuous keenness to host major international sports tournaments, and translates its effective partnerships with Qatari institutions, clubs and federations. These have culminated in the organisation of this "exceptional global event" with the participation of 30 countries from around the world.
Prof al-Sulaiti added that the festival promotes Katara's position as an incubator for international championships, events and sporting events, and consolidates its role in preserving the rich heritage of the country in equestrian sport and ancient Qatari traditions related to it, in addition to strengthening the status of the purebred Arabian horse breed locally, regionally and internationally.
What distinguishes the festival is that it combines the "pleasure of sport, the beauty of culture and the splendour of entertainment and tourism", he pointed out. Moreover, it features a high-profile international championship dedicated to the beauty of purebred Arabian horses, making it a unique global event.
Prof al-Sulaiti thanked the sponsors of the festival, namely Nasser Bin Khaled Group, Ali Bin Ali Holding, Ahlibank, Vodafone, Qatar Airways, Qatar Insurance Group, Al Kass Channels and Qommunication.
On his part, al-Darwish said the festival's activities will start on February 2, while the competitions will take place on February 4. The competitions are divided into three categories - the first for colts and fillies aged 1 year, the second for colts and fillies aged 2-3 years, and the third for mares and stallions aged 4 years and above, according to QNA.