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Fitness industry reaps rich National Sport Day dividends

  • 12 February 2019
  • Author: QT01
  • Number of views: 1011
Fitness industry reaps rich National Sport Day dividends
Rahul Preeth
Indian expatriate and long-time Doha resident Shanoj is one among the many who joined a health club in Qatar on Tuesday as the National Sport Day stoked public health consciousness across the country.
In his early thirties, the 7-foot-tall IT engineer is seemingly in a good shape but is worried about his developing belly. The worry turned into a serious concern recently when he ran out of breath in the middle of a race with his friends. 
“That was a wake-up call,” said the father of a one-year-old, who was an active cricketer and an athlete in college. 
“I have been thinking about joining the gym for almost a week before it finally happened today,” Shanoj, who doesn’t wish to reveal his full name, said outside a prominent gymnasium in Doha on Tuesday. “This is my way of celebrating the sports day,” he added.
The National Sport Day, which falls on the second Tuesday of every February, is an initiative by the Qatar government to develop healthy living and sporting habits among the citizens and residents in the country.
It is a public holiday and is celebrated across the country with a variety of activities that encourage people to get out and be active.
“The weeks leading up to the Sports Day have had a motivating effect on me,” Shanoj said. “My friends were going, gyms across Doha were offering loads of discounts and on top of all that, today was a holiday.”
Andrei Rares Balint, who is the head trainer at the Dynamk Gym in Al Mansoura, agrees that the National Sport Day is great for business in the fitness industry.
“You need something to get people started. The first step is the difficult one. Once they cross it, the rest is easy,” he added.
Balint said he saw a lot of new faces at the gym over the last week like it was the New Year’s Eve.
As part of celebrating the National Sport Day, the Dynamk Gym held an event at Ramada Park on Tuesday morning to encourage people to join the gym.
“We had like workout challenges, which will get you discounts on membership fees based on the number of times you are able to do a particular exercise,” Balint said.
Roma Rudewicz, the general manager of the Dynamk, said: “We have always tried to encourage healthy living among the people in Qatar. We have been and will be conducting similar programmes throughout the country.”
Balu Jalaluddin, the manager of the City Gym in Najma, believes the sudden influx of newcomers at the gym is caused by the run-up to the National Sport Day.”
We have been having 30 to 35 new admissions every week so far this year. The numbers have been particularly high in the past few weeks,” said Jalaluddin, who couldn’t get the exact figures as the gym was closed on Tuesday.

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