Foundation fun as Stamford Bridge hosts Qatari National Sports Day

Chelsea captains Gary Cahill and Katie Chapman joined hundreds of London children at a very special sports day at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday thanks to a new initiative from the Chelsea Foundation and the Embassy of Qatar in London.

The Blues players were on hand to provide coaching tips as children participated in a range of sporting activities, overseen by Chelsea Chairman Bruce Buck, HE Yousef Al-Khater, Qatar’s Ambassador to the UK, and former Olympic champion, Chelsea fan and IAAF president Lord Coe. 

The event, which was timed to coincide with Qatar’s National Sports Day celebrations, allowed children, including some affected by last year’s Grenfell Tower tragedy, to sample sports they might not be familiar with and promote the benefits of an active lifestyle, as well as offering photo opportunities with the Premier League trophy and a tour of the Bridge. Also present was Ghanim Al-Mufthar, an inspirational young Qatari born without legs, who suffers from Caudal Regression Syndrome (pictured above with Katie and Gary).

The day saw youngsters earn points at each activity, which were then converted into energy units to help power a virtual plane on its journey from London to Qatar’s capital city, Doha.

The Chelsea Foundation also received a donation from the State of Qatar, to help deliver future free coaching sessions to motivate children to take up sport and to provide holiday opportunities for those children and families affected by the Grenfell Tower fire.

Speaking at the event, Buck said: ‘We are delighted the Qatari Embassy has chosen Chelsea and Stamford Bridge to host this exciting sports day. The Chelsea Foundation works all year round to provide opportunities for youngsters all over the world to enjoy active lifestyles and this initiative matches our ethos perfectly.’

HE Al-Khater added: ‘Qatar is a nation of sports lovers so we’re incredibly happy to partner with Chelsea FC to bring our National Sports Day to London. Encouraging more young children to play sport is a key mission for the UK and the State of Qatar. Our donation to the Chelsea Foundation will help them continue this important work over the coming years.’

Lord Coe, who as president of the IAAF will be in Qatar for next year’s World Championships, was pleased to combine two of his passions. ‘The biggest challenge we all have is physical inactivity. Getting young people into the habit of enjoying exercise is important and days like this, around a great football club, really attract young people, ‘he said. ‘I’m very pleased that Qatar has activated here among our local community and the Chelsea Foundation.’