Qatar's Mutaz Barshim, the high jumper who sealed a dominant season by winning the Asian Games title here, is set to become the public figurehead of Doha's bid to host the 2019 International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships.
The support of Barshim, silver medallist at last year's World Championship, who also enjoyed World Indoor and Diamond League victories this season, is hardly surprising but a boost nonetheless as they aim to gather early momentum in the bidding process against rivals Barcelona and Eugene.
Doha are widely considered the favourites having been beaten for the 2017 World Championships by London.
"It is every athlete's ultimate ambition to win the World Championships but very few get to win them at home," said the 23-year-old Barshim.
"Winning the World Championships in Doha would be the highlight of my career, standing on the podium, watching the Qatari flag being raised and hearing the national anthem would be a memory to treasure for life.
"The success I have achieved in my career so far is thanks to the support that I receive in Doha, Doha really is the heart of sport.
"I have access to world-class facilities, medical experts, specialised training camps, a very knowledgeable coach and the support of the whole Qatar Athletics Federation who always make the right choices for me.
"Hosting the World Championships in Doha and the Middle East for the first time ever would mean a lot for Qatar and for the whole region.
"We need to connect athletics to this part of the world and to inspire young people across the region by live athletics."
Several other international athletes have thrown their support behind Doha's bid.
These include Barshim's fellow high jumper Derek Drouin, the Canadian who won gold at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow earlier this summer, Bahamian 400 metres sprinter Chris Brown and New Zealand shot put legend Valerie Adams.
Adams, the two-time Olympic and four-time world champion, who also won gold at Glasgow 2014, claims holding the Championships in the Middle East would be a way to bring more young females into athletics.
This comes as the Qatar Athletics Federation continues a youth participation initiative in collaboration with the Aspire Academy for Sports Excellence, which has already served to connect thousands of young girls to athletics for the first time and to identify talented young athletes who have gone on to join the national squad development programme.
Among those to have benefited is Noor Al-Malki, who qualified to become Qatar's first female Olympic track athlete when she competed in the 100m at London 2012.
"Athletics is my life and it means everything to me, it has taught me many of life's lessons and has made me a stronger, more confident woman," Adams said.
"I really hope that more young females can benefit from athletics in the same way that I have.
"Hosting the World Championships in the Middle East for the first time ever will showcase live athletics to a new generation of young females in the region.
"I believe that Doha 2019 will inspire them to see that anything is possible and women's athletics across the Middle East will continue to advance as a result."
Following the submission of candidature files by each of three candidates last Saturday (September 25) visits will be paid to each by the IAAF Evaluation Commission this month.
A final decision is due to be taken by the IAAF Council at its meeting in Monaco in November.
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