Doha will host the 2019 World Athletics Championships after beating rivals Barcelona and Eugene in a secret ballot vote at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Council meeting in Monaco today.
Voting was delayed for almost an hour after what an IAAF spokesman described as "long, long discussion...democracy in action" before it was announced that Doha had beaten Eugene by 15 votes to 12 in the second round, having earned 12 of the first round votes, with nine going to Eugene and six to the eliminated Barcelona.
"We are very delighted that these Championships will be coming for the first time to our region," said Sheikh Saoud Bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, secretary general of the Qatar Olympic Committee and chairman of the Doha 2019 bid team.
"So we know for sure that our sport, athletics, is globalising."
Having lost the 2017 IAAF World Championships to London three years ago, Doha has prevailed at its second attempt after stressing its wealth of experience as an IAAF partner and offering the international federation the opportunity, in the words of bid leader Dahlan Al-Hamad, the IAAF vice-president, of "expanding into new regions, and capturing the imagination of a new generation."
Another key new element has been the shifting of the event away from the traditional staging time of August to early October, when Doha 2019 officials insist temperatures will be lower than they are during the IAAF Diamond League meetings held in May.
Also new was the decision to hold marathon races along the Corniche in the evenings, under floodlighting, with part of the presentation featuring a video of a marathon test event under lights undertaken within the last fortnight.
The result will be a big boost to Qatar's hopes of securing the 2024 Olympics and Paralympics - the only big sporting prize left following the award of the 2022 FIFA World Cup finals.
The Doha presentation called upon Qatari high jumper Mutaz Essa Barshim, one of three challengers for the IAAF Men's World Athlete of the Year award on Friday (November 21), who announced: "I want to jump in Doha in 2019.
"I want to inspire a new generation.
"We need everybody to help.
"We need to make an impact, to take athletics to new places.
"To expand the sport we love.
"Are you willing to expand the sport we love?
"Are you ready to inspire the new generation?
"We need everybody's help to come together for the sport that we really love, to take it to the next horizon, the next level.
"Together we can defy gravity."
Today the IAAF members, who backed London's experience and historic involvement last time round, have elected to rise to that challenge.
In so doing, they have weighed the consequences of awarding to a country which has recently seen three fellow members of the Gulf region - Egypt, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates -boycott forthcoming world events there, this year's World Short Course Swimming Championships and next year's World Handball Championships reportedly in protest at Qatar's perceived financial support of Islamist groups in the Middle East, including the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.
They also dismissed concerns over the allegations of corruption which surrounded the successful Qatar bid for the 2022 World Cup finals, with FIFA's 18-month investigation, clearing all concerns, being called into question by the man responsible for leading it, FIFA ethics investigator Michael Garcia.
The result will be a blow to the United States ambitions of hosting the 2024 Olympics, considerably strengthened by NBC's massive underwriting of live Games coverage through to 2032.
Eugene's presentation called upon athletes Allyson Felix, the multiple world and Olympic 200 metres champion, and world mile and 1500m record holder Hicham El Guerrouj, who described Hayward Field as "the Mecca of track and field".
The bidders stressed the $2 billion (£1.3 billion/€1.6 billion) commitment to renew the historic venue of Hayward Field into a "cutting edge world class track and field venue" and to renovating the local halls into an athletes village.
The budget was financially underwritten by Paul Weinfold of the University of Oregon Foundation.
"We will fulfil the same role as we provided for the recent staging of the IAAF World Junior Championships, and that we will provide for the IAAF 2016 World Indoor Championships in Portland, Oregon," he said.
Vin Lananna, President of TrackTown USA, concluded that awarding the Championships to Eugene, which he said "holds the heart and soul of track and field", would be "groundbreaking" and also "global", adding: "It will signal a new era of sport in track and field.
"Your decision will finally crack open the US markets to our sport...there will be an unprecedented audience for athletics in the United States and across the globe.
"It will inspire the next generation of young people, and leave the legacy of a rebuilt track and facilities in an urban centre."
He pointed out that the IAAF would benefit from all the partners Eugene could involve, not least NBC, which earlier this year bought exclusive rights to show live coverage of six winter and summer Olympics, from 2022 to 2032, at a cost of $7.75 billion (£4.95 billion/€6.20 billion).
Lananna concluded: "Destiny is calling us. America is waiting. Eugene is ready."
Barcelona referred back to its successful staging of the 1992 Olympics and Paralympics, but also underlined its ability to deliver a Championships stressing the importance of innovation, including technological, and appealing to "the new, young, digital generation."
"We will create a new model for the World Championships," said Josep Pique, vice-president of The International Association of Science Parks (IASP).
Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]
November 2014: "No boycott risk" if Doha secures 2019 IAAF World Championships, says bid leader
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November 2014: Qatari schoolchildren show support for Doha 2019 IAAF World Championships bid
November 2014: Nick Butler: Doha campaign for IAAF World Championships is formidable bid but just one part of Qatar's growing sporting CV
October 2014: Marathon runners will be kept in the dark if Doha win bid to host 2019 IAAF World Championships