The Establishment of the Qatar National Olympic Committee: Building the National Sport Identity
Qatar was one of the British protectorates in the Gulf region with its international relations controlled by Britain. On September 3, 1971, the country’s Heir Apparent appeared on local TV and announced Qatar’s independence. In subsequent years, national sports federations in Qatar started to request for membership of their respective International Federations (IFs). In order to participate in the Olympics, the Qatar National Olympic Committee (QOC) was established in 1979 and got its provisional recognition in 1980. This paper is part of an extensive research on the relationship between sport and politics in the Gulf region. It aims to examine the inclusion of Qatar in the international sports ﬁeld. It will examine the process of the establishment of the QOC in the late 1970s and will focus on the Qatar post-independence period, which can be analysed as part of a nation-building process. Nation-building can be understood as ‘the process of constructing a shared sense of identity and common destiny, usually in order to overcome ethnic, sectarian or communal differences and to counter alternate sources of identity and loyalty’,1 usually for the state or the leader. The paper is based on the theories of Cultural History,2 Social Field,3 Reproduction,4 National Identity,5 Collective Memory,6 Imagined Community,7
Invented Tradition8 and Places of Memory.9 The primary sources used in this paper are ofﬁcial documents, letters and telegrams from the IOC, the IFs and the Ofﬁcial Gazette of the State of Qatar.