Doha: News of the first Qatari woman to summit Mt Everest has grabbed media headlines in the country of 2.7 million where close to 85 per cent of the population is expatriate.
Less than 24 hours after conquering Mt Everest, Sheikha Asma bint Thani Al-Thani also became the first Qatari woman to scale Mt Lhotse, the fourth highest peak in the world at 8,516 m, the Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) said.
Al-Thani hoisted Qatar’s flag on the highest peak in the world on May 27, saying on her Instagram post: “Everest-A dream I have been working on for quite some time.”
Al-Thani could not scale the 8,849-metre peak in May last year as the expedition was called off owing to adverse weather conditions.
“Don’t be shy to dream big. Once you do, you have a commitment to do everything you can to make it happen. Where there is a will there is a way!,” she said on Instagram.
Besides being the first Qatari woman to scale Everest, Al-Thani recently became the first Arab to reach the summit of Mt Kangchenjunga — the world’s third highest mountain located between Nepal and India at an altitude of 8,586 m.
In January, she had become the first Qatari to ski to both North and South poles.
Describing her experience of scaling Mt Lhotse, Al-Thani said on Instagram that the climb would not have been possible without the support and empowerment of QOC. “Within 24 hours of summitting Mt Everest, we headed towards Mt Lhotse (8,516 m), the fourth highest mountain in the world,” she said. “With heavy snow for a couple of days, the ropes were buried deep in the snow on the Lhotse Couloir. But that did not stop us from getting to the top and back down safely.”
Al-Thani is attempting to become the first woman from the Middle East to complete the Explorers Grand Slam, which involves climbing all Seven Summits (Mount Everest, Aconcagua, Denali, Kilimanjaro, Vinson Massif, Puncak Jaya and Mount Elbrus) and reaching the North Pole and South Pole.
She has now completed seven of the nine challenges – Kilimanjaro in 2014, the North Pole in 2018, Aconcagua in 2019, Mount Elbrus in 2021 and Vinson Massif, South Pole and Mount Everest this year.
Qatar, which is going to be the first Middle Eastern country to host the FIFA World Cup at the end of the year, has invested heavily in sports infrastructure and pulls all stops to ensure that its citizens and residents take to sports with enthusiasm.