Exclusive: Qatar will return to bid for the Olympics says QOC general secretary

Wednesday, 14 November 2012
By Tom Degun at the Aspire Dome in Doha

Sheikh Saoud JPG JPGNovember 14 - Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) general secretary Sheikh Saoud Bin Abdulrahman Al Thani (pictured) has promised that the country will return to bid for the Olympics and Paralympics, most likely in 2024, because their ultimate goal is to host the Games.

Doha were eliminated from the race to host the 2020 Games earlier this year, alongside Baku, as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board decided only to shortlist the trio of Istanbul, Madrid and Tokyo.

The decision to remove Doha from the race by the IOC drew criticism after the city had been given the green light to host the Games outside the normal window and in October to avoid the searing summer temperatures in Qatar.

But despite the setback, Sheikh Saoud said they will be back to bid for the greatest sporting event on earth to go along with the FIFA World Cup, which Qatar has been controversially awarded to host in 2022. 

"That question [of whether Qatar will bid for the 2024 Games] was one that was asked straight after we were disqualified from the 2020 race," Sheikh Saoud told insidethegames here at the Aspire4Sport Conference.

"But the Emir [the ruler of Qatar] made it clear that our objective is to stage the Games

"So we will continue on that path and we will continue to bid.

"Every time we bid, we are listening and learning to see how we can make our bid stronger.

"Our 2020 bid was stronger than our 2016 bid because the IOC Executive Board accepted our plan to host the Games in the October window, which didn't happen the first time.

"We think our next bid will be even stronger because of what we have learnt from 2020 and we think that each time we bid, we can get closer.

"If we can keep doing that, one day the dream will happen to host the Olympics in the Middle East."

dohaQatar was eliminated from the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic bid race despite being one of the world’s richest countries with one of the world’s fastest growing economies

Sheikh Saoud's comments came as he unveiled the Qatar Sports Venue Master Plan (QSVMP) to stage major events in the country.

Two years in the making, the plan audited 62 existing sports venues for usability and proposed 11 new ones, in addition to eight venues originally planned by the QOC.

The new venues planned are distributed over five zones around Lusail City, Qatar Foundation, Aspire Zone, Old Airport Area and Qatar University and they could directly help with Qatar's next Olympic and Paralympic bid.

"Our focus since the beginning of this project has been legacy and ensuring that we avoid white elephants," said Sheikh Saoud.

"We have watched countries build large venues and struggle later with what to do with them.

"So our team has worked backwards, thinking first about how these venues can be of use in the future before planning their use during major sporting events.

"Our ultimate goal is to host the Olympic Games and we feel this project will help us achieve that goal."

Contact the writer of this story at tom.degun@insidethegames.biz


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