Proving that The Ooredoo Ride of Champions Is in Reality a Ride For All!!!
(Doha, Qatar – 19th November 2020) Reflecting on the success that was the 4th edition of the Qatar Cyclists Center organised, Ooredoo Ride of Champions, the 2020 edition made history, with the most inclusive Ride of Champions ever. On Friday, 13th November, nothing, even the current state of 2020 due to Covid-19, could hold back the enthusiasm and excitement by the organisers and partners in making it the most inclusive event ever Qatar Foundation, Best Buddies Qatar and Accessible Qatar.
As the rays of sun began to illuminate the picturesque Ceremonial Court at Education City, Qatar Foundation, 1,700 athletes arrived to accomplish their rides. Among the participating men, women, and children, ranging in age from 3 to 68 years of age, were athletes and individuals setting out to accomplish their own greatness.
This year’s Ooredoo Ride of Champions featured two very special rides, creating a platform for athletes with unique needs to capture center stage and demonstrate their abilities to ride, enjoy, exercise, and be a winner! The first of these was the Wheelchair and Handcycle Race, which was a competition amongst athletes with incredible upper-body strength, capable of cycling with their hands at speeds up to and over 30 km per hour!
Another ride, which was launched in previous editions of the Ooredoo Ride of Champions, was the Best Buddies ride. This ride features Best Buddies participants and their closest friends, to take a ride at their own pace around the lush and beautiful Green Spine at Qatar Foundation. With ample supervision and safety precautions in place, the organisers built the perfect platform for Best Buddies riders to enjoy the beautiful day and captivating atmosphere, all while accomplishing the amazing.
More than 40 attendees with exceptional accessibility needs participated in the 2020 edition of the Ooredoo Ride of Champions, providing a terrific platform to put the spotlight on the need for greater accessibility for people with disabilities.
Commenting on the accessibility events held at this year’s Ooredoo Ride of Champions was Ambassador to Ooredoo and Qatar Cyclists Center Board Member, and a Qatari cycling superstar, Mr. Ali Bin Towar Al-Kuwari. “The vision of the Ride of Champions has always been to be for the entire community of Qatar and year on year we have worked to widen the event to include not only racing cyclists but families, youth and now para-sport participants, as well as those from ability sport whether they are neuro diverse or para athletes.”
Amy Johnson, Community Engagement Director, Qatar Foundation, said: “Hosting the Ooredoo Ride of Champions – an event designed for people of all ages and abilities – at Education City reflects the diversity of Qatar Foundation, and how we offer a vibrant and welcoming environment that has something for everyone, all year round.
“We are delighted to have partnered with the Qatar Cyclists Center for an event that is now a standout feature on Qatar’s calendar of community activities, and to see so many people embracing active living and the sheer enjoyment of social interaction. We look forward to hosting many more events that truly bring the people of Qatar together.
The organisers of the Ooredoo Ride of Champions depend on the dedication and support of key partners to help it conform to the heightened needs of accessible events.
Jack Saba, General Manager of Public Affairs commented: “At Sasol, we are proud to have supported the Ooredoo Ride of Champions to become more inclusive with our Definitely Able and Accessible CSR initiatives, by conducting physical accessibility audits of the venue and by providing Handcycles enabling more wheelchair users to participate in the competitive wheelchair / handcycle ride. I would like to thank the organisers and sponsors for their support and passion to make the Ride of Champions accessible for all.”
While the Ooredoo Ride of Champions has a history of welcoming cyclists of all ages and experience levels, ranging from beginners to the most experienced amateurs, the organisers aimed to reach higher and farther for more members of our community to participate.
2019 was the first year in which members of the community with either neuro diverse or ability needs were able to be a champion at the Ooredoo Ride of Champion. The terrific planning and execution of these events within the event secured accessibility as a key strategic aim for the event’s organisers for years to come.
Abdulrahman Al-Yafei, ambassador of Accessible Qatar, a Sasol initiative, added: “Everyone should try a handbike, as it’s a very social activity, and builds hand and upper-body strength. It is unlike a normal bicycle. I have trained for a few months as it is fairly new for me. I reached speeds of 35-40 km/h. I’ve truly enjoyed this year’s Ride of Champions – as it is Qatar’s most inclusive event. No matter your physical ability, it has a category for you – from a 5.8 km lap inside Education City where wheelchair users can use their everyday chair to longer routes up to 137 km designed for cyclists and even hand cyclists. I really love such events because they bring all walks of life in the community together. Can’t wait for next year’s edition!”
On behalf of Mrs. Latifa Kuwari, Executive Director of the Shafallah Center for Persons with Disabilities, Mrs. Laalei Abu Alfain extends her thanks and appreciation to the Qatar Cyclists Center for giving the opportunity to the members of Best Buddies Qatar to participate in the Ooredoo Ride of Champions in 2020. “It is our second participation after last year’s event in 2019, and we are very happy with the participation of our members in this event. In these difficult days, which have had the effect of isolating our members at home and made it difficult to engage in community activities until this opportunity came, the Ooredoo Ride of Champions has put a smile on their faces despite all the difficulties and challenges they’ve faced. However, they insisted to participate and show their abilities to the world and the people around them and they are able to compete, as the Ooredoo Ride of Champions is the largest community-cycling event in the country, and the most important for its organisers, the Qatar Cyclists Center.”
The event organisers at Qatar Cyclists Center are hugely thankful to their Title Partner Ooredoo, hosts Qatar Foundation, partners Dolphin Energy, the Qatar National Tourism Council and Turkish Airlines. Additionally, the support of key government entities: Ministry of Culture and Sports, Qatar Cycling Federation, Traffic Police and the approval to enable the event of the Ministry of Public Health. Further gratitude is expressed to the events supporters Garmin Lingawi, Rasen Sports, Rayyan Water, Aspetar, GMC and accessibility partners Best Buddies and Accessible Qatar.
To learn more about the Ooredoo Ride of Champions, you may visit www.rocdoha.qa or follow @rocdoha on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.