Doha 2017 World Championships could be "new frontier" claims Qatar

Friday, 16 September 2011
By Duncan Mackay in Brussels

Doha_2017_press_conference_Brussels_September_16_2011_with_head_of_QOCSeptember 16 - Doha today unveiled more details of its bid to host the 2017 World Athletics Championships, including staging the long distance events like the marathon at night to avoid the worst of the heat and also offering to organise the International Paralympic Committee World Championships immediately afterwards.

It also, not surprisingly, was keen to emphasise that it already had the majority of its infrastructure in place to stage the Championships, unlike its only rival London, whose bid continues to suffer from uncertainty over the future of the Olympic Stadium.

"We are confident about our bid winning the race to host the 2017 Championships," said Sheikh Saoud bin Abdulrahman al-Thani (pictured), the chairman and secretary general of the Qatar Olympic Committee.

"Doha is committed to host one of the best-ever World Championships in 2017.

"We have successfully hosted the World Indoor Championships and enjoy a strong bond with the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

"We already have a great stadium that is ready.

"Qatar could be a new frontier in world sport if Doha wins the bid."

The Khalifa Stadium will feature the latest state-of-the-art cooling technology for the Championships, which would take place in the middle of September if Qatar's bid is successful.

Doha_Corniche_at_night
The marathon, which traditionally takes place in the morning, would be scheduled in the evening, along the Corniche waterfront, including one of the races being incorporated into the Opening Ceremony.

"We will make the Stadium cool enough for athletes and spectators," said al-Thani.

"The climate will not be a barrier."

Doha is also proposing to build Athletics City to accommodate the the competitors and officials during the Championships.

The development would offer luxury apartments, five star hotels, restaurants and entertainment facilities.

"We will promise to to host a Championships where it will be different to other places," Abdullah Ahmed al-Zaini, President of Qatar Association of Athletics Federation (QAAF) who is leading Doha's bid for 2017.

Al-Thani claimed that hosting the World Championships would also "give added value" to Qatar's bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games.

Qatar failed to bring the 2016 Olympics to Doha because the International Olympic Committee was not in favour of holding the event outside the traditional July-August window.

Qatar wanted to host the Olympics in October because of the searing heat and humidity during the summer months.

Al -Zaini also promised that the Khalifa Stadium would be full to its 40,000 capacity each day. 

"We have huge experience in hosting major events and can deliver one of the most well-attended IAAF competitions in history," he said.

"We are already drawing up plans to attract huge crowds.

"We will come up with different types of tickets to cater to different sections of society.

"We will also tie up with Qatar Airways to provide passengers with special offers and promotions much before the actual start of the competition.

"We will have enough number of hotel rooms to accommodate any number of fans and athletes."

Doha_2017_press_conference_Brussels_September_16_2011_Aphrodite_Moschoudi
Aphrodite Moschoudi, the strategic planning manager for Doha 2017, claimed that hosting the Championships in the Middle East for the first time would help the development of the sport in the region.

"We hear there are too few spectators in Doha," she said.

"But this is one of the reasons we want to do it.

"We will not rest until we fill every seat in that stadium.

"We have high ambitions but we also have the will and the resources to do it."

The plan of hosting the IPC World Championships straight after the World Championships is an idea that was first suggested by Ed Warner, the chairman of UK Athletics and who is heavily involved in promoting London's bid for 2017.

Warner had raised the possibility shortly after being appointed as the chairman of the IPC Athletics Sport Technical Committee (STC) in May.

Doha have now taken the idea and hope to make it their own.

"We have spoken to [IPC President] Sir Philip Craven about our plan and he is delighted," said Moschoudi.

"We have a verbal understanding that we will support it.

"It will bring added value to the Championships."

Contact the writer of this story at duncan.mackay@insidethegames.biz


Related stories
September 2011: Mike Rowbottom - The elephant that stands between Doha and the 2017 World Championships
September 2011: Exclusive - American Hersh to head IAAF Evaluation Commission for 2017 World Championships
September 2011: Exclusive - Doha 2017 promise to "overcome technical and mental barriers" to stage World Championships
September 2011: Exclusive - IAAF decision on 2017 World Championships dates crucial for Doha Olympic bid
August 2011: Exclusive - Doha warned by IAAF not to launch 2017 marketing campaign in Daegu
comments powered by Disqus