KUWAIT: Senior citizens gather before sunrise at Al-Salmiya trail and organize the youths ahead of the daily exercise - walking for nine kilometers. The leaders are Hassan Al-Eidan (in his 70s), Abdul Sattar Al-Shemmari and Mahmoud Sabri (in their 60s) and members of the Kuwaiti Walking Committee. "The dean of the walkers" is Jaber Farid (80).

After the walking exercise, they gather for a conclusion exercise and muscle stretching before dispersing. Dr Mustafa Johar Hayat, 75, the committee chairman, said that the participants should adhere to regulations and abstain from any act that may disturb or distract the walkers, recalling among the past troubles that once they had been scared when someone brought in an agitated monkey.

He also protested that motorcyclists often use the pathway and ride at high speed, thus endangering safety of the walkers. He recalled that once a motorcyclist lost control and rammed into a cement bench suffering from some bruises. Walking is a remedy to modern day diseases, he said, encouraging all people to practice to stay healthy and fit.

The Kuwaiti Walking Committee was informally established in the form of a league in the 80s, with inspiration by the late Sheikh Jaber Al Ali who used to walk for eight kilometers every day. "Walking does not add days to the life but adds life to the days," said Mahmoud Sabri, the committee general coordinator, expressing the advocates philosophy of doing the exercise regularly.

The walkers between the 80s and the 90s started forming some leagues to regulate their group exercise. One of the notable leaders was the former minister of health Dr Abdulrahman Al-Awadhi. The committee was proclaimed in 2009 and the first tournament for walking amateurs was organized on October 14, 2011. The committee was accredited by the Kuwaiti Olympic Committee in August 2020. - KUNA