A horizontal white torch with a burgundy leather strap and the logo of Doha 2006 Asian Games
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Gallery Highlight: The Flame of Hospitality

4 July 2023

By 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum Curatorial Team

The 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum is home to one of Qatar’s most prized sporting possessions.

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Qatar has rapidly established itself as an internationally recognised host nation for major sporting events. The springboard for this seat on the worldwide stage was the 2006 Asian Games – a competition that saw athletes from 45 nations take part in 424 events across 39 sports, including basketball, gymnastics and weightlifting.

The Games’ success coincided with an urban expansion programme that led to the construction of world-class facilities for many different sports and hospitality venues of the highest international standards.

International sports stars arrived and global audiences watched them in action, sealing Qatar’s lightning transformation into a nation that is regarded worldwide as a hub of sporting excellence.

Today the Khalifa International Stadium, the Aspire indoor multi-sports dome and the state-of-the-art stadiums created for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ stand as visible expressions of Qatar’s commitment to sport at the very highest level.

A horizontal white torch with a burgundy leather strap and the logo of Doha 2006 Asian Games

Photo courtesy of 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum ©2023

This torch was part of the Asian Games torch relay for 2006 – an integral part of the games since its third edition in Tokyo in 1958. The relay began in Doha on 8 October 2006 with the lighting of the torch under the theme ‘Flame of Hospitality’, symbolising the unifying spirit of competition and friendship throughout Asia. The torch would cross eight former Asian Games host cities and the four Gulf Cooperation Council member states before travelling back to Doha to begin its relay across the city.

The shape of the torch was inspired by the curved horns of the Arabian Oryx, Qatar’s national animal, and the colours reflect the maroon and white of the Qatari flag.

The torch, weighing 1.5 kilograms, was carried by over 3000 athletes in total, culminating in the lighting of the giant astrolabe-shaped cauldron by H.E. Mohammed bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani at the opening ceremony in Khalifa International Stadium on 1 December 2006.

On display at the Qatar: A Global Sports Nation gallery, the torch is nestled among many other relics from Qatar’s burgeoning sport profile, and bears testimony to the range of top competitions that have been hosted in the peninsula since the 1970s, from equestrian and racquet sports, to track and field contests, to motor races, to handball and football.

Plan your visit today to see these national treasures.