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Mon, 12/04/2023 - 16:23
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GCC Summit/ Sports Diplomacy Enhances Gulf Affiliation, Harmonization

Doha, December 04 (QNA) - Sports represent one of the tools of soft power that brings together the people of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states and contributes to introducing the world to the unique capabilities possessed by the Arab Gulf states, which were witnessed through the numerous events, tournaments and competitions hosted by the Gulf states in all sports.
The sporting events hosted by the region contributed to conveying a true and clear picture about the nature of the region and its development, and the Gulf states benefited from sports in developing relations between their peoples.
The State of Qatar's hosting of the largest global football event, the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, has contributed to enhancing cooperation and integration between the GCC states in various fields. Over 29 days, Qatar and the Arabian Gulf region became the focus of the worlds attention. Doha was able during this period to represent the Arab and Gulf world with its values and customs and gain the support of non-Arab countries that supported and praised the State of Qatar's hosting of the global event, which was held for the first time in the Middle East.
The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 also left positive impacts among the various states of the region and emphasized the depth of relations between the peoples of the Gulf in particular and the Arab region as a whole, especially in light of the Arab popular campaigns to support and make the Qatar World Cup a success.
The tournament also strengthened the integration of the GCC states, especially from an economic perspective, as the states of the region benefited during the tournament. These states were an important point for World Cup fans to reach Qatar by air and land. In addition to that, they benefited from hosting fans and providing facilities for accommodation and transportation to and from Qatar.
With the Arab Gulf states continuous efforts to organize major sporting events, such as football and tennis tournaments, and international sports tours, as well as maintain tournaments that bring together their national teams and sports teams, these events will permanently enhance and preserve the strengthening of relations between the states and peoples of the region, especially in light of close relationship between sports and politics. 

For more than five decades, the Arabian Gulf Cup Football Championship, which was launched in 1970, played an important role in bringing the states of the region closer together and strengthening the Gulf cohesion that has developed over time.
In addition to the Gulf Cup, the most prominent sporting event in the region, the Arab Gulf states host many global and regional sporting events, which helps create an appropriate atmosphere to enhance communication in bilateral relations and with the rest of the world.
The GCC states have many sports championships, whether at the national teams or club level, starting from basketball, handball, and volleyball tournaments to individual games tournaments, such as karate, taekwondo, judo, boxing, and weightlifting, as well as swimming, gymnastics, athletics, tennis, squash, padel, table tennis, and the sports common in the Gulf, especially traditional ones.
The sports that are widespread in the Gulf, such as archery, sailing, rowing, diving, billiards, snooker, cars, rallying, and motorcycles, are the common characteristics that always unite the Gulf people, in addition to traditional sports, such as horse, camel and falconry festivals, which are occasions to revive heritage and introduce new generations to the past of their fathers and grandfathers.
Traditional sporting events are a consolidation and symbol of the unity and brotherhood of the peoples of the GCC states, given that they enjoy one past, customs, traditions, and cultures; therefore, sport always plays the role of an ally between peoples and a factor of the warmth of relations between the GCC states.
Sports diplomacy in the Arabian Gulf region is progressing rapidly, and interest in sporting events is increasing. Gulf states seek to prove their efficiency and ability to compete with major countries through this diplomacy, which is characterized by great geopolitical importance, especially as sport helps build bridges between different peoples especially since it has become a unifying event that affects minds and erases any differences.
Sports in general, and sports diplomacy in particular, have become an important axis in the development of the GCC states, which consider sports investment an opportunity to diversify their economies, especially during the last two decades as there is an increasing focus on sports and its soft power, as well as encouraging investment in its various forms, which indirectly contributes to the development of all kinds. (QNA)