Qatar ups ante to host 2017 world athletics
THE Qatar Association of Athletics Federation (QAAF) has planned to unleash a large-scale promotional campaign during two upcoming world-level championships to back its bid to host the 2017 World Championship.
QAAF President Abdulla Ahmed al Zaini during an exclusive chat with Qatar Tribune said Qatar was a serious bidder for the 2017 World Championship and would use every resource at its disposal to bolster its bid.
“We will launch a big campaign during the World Youth Championship and World Athletics Championship to promote our 2017 World Championship bid.
On the sidelines of these events, we’d set up a well-equipped stall and mobilise opinions of officials and athletes from other countries in support of our bid,” said Zaini.
While the World Youth Championship is scheduled in Lille, France in July, the World Athletics Championship will be hosted by Daegu, South Korea in August.
“The bid committee has decided to influence the decision makers, who would throng both the places during the events,” Zaini added.
“We have not yet appointed a press officer.
A suitable person would be entrusted with the job soon,” informed the QAAF chief.
Apart from Qatar, Budapest, London and an unnamed city from Spain have thrown their hats in the ring.
All the aspiring hosts must submit their bid files before September 1 and the host city will be selected in November in Monaco.
“We successfully hosted the Asian Games in 2006.
We’ve been holding various world-level events regularly.
We have proved our capacity as host of mega sports events and these credentials were further strengthened by the successful hosting of World Indoor Athletics Championship in March 2010.” In December 2010, Qatar surprised the world by winning the bid to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
“After all these successes, we thought it logical to bid for the IAAF’s premier event, the World Championship.
We are well aware of the dynamics needed to impress the selection panel,” said Zaini.
Qatar’s bid to host the 2017 World Championship is modelled on its successful 2022 FIFA World Cup bid.
Qatar is seeking the right on the ground that no Middle East country has ever hosted the World Championship before and it would organise the event in air-conditioned venue having zero carbon cooling technology.
“Qatar has been fuelling interest of the Middle East and the Gulf countries in athletics for a long time.
Many countries have started to follow us after our successful Grand Prix editions in Doha.
Athletics has been one of the sports the QOC has been paying a great deal of attention to.
Our various training schools in athletics have been performing well and we’ve got a good bunch of promising and young athletes.
You must have seen how the crowd backed high jumper (Mutaz Essa) Barshim in the recently- held Diamond League.
“So we have got some heroes, who are furthering the cause of athletics too,” pointed out Zaini.
Barshim has had a phenomenal time since last year.
He has been the Asian Games title winner, besides the Asian indoor and outdoor titles.
He also clinched the World junior crown in Canada, last year.
Rashid al Mannai is another impressive high jumper.
Middle distance runner Hamza Driuch is also making waves.
Femi Ogunode won the 200m and 400m races at the Asian Games in Guangzhou last season.
Earlier in May, Barshim equalised the men’s national high jump record, while finishing a creditable third in a strong company of world class athletes like Jesse Williams of the US and Kyriakos Iaonnaou of Cyprus.
Zaini feels the World Athletics Championship is a very prestigious event and poses a plenty of challenges to Qatar.
“We’ve full support of the Qatar Olympic Committee, which is itself a major step forward.
We’ve also planned to have the World Championship at the iconic Khalifa International Stadium, instead of the Qatar Sports Club track.
“We’ll lay new track.
Since the championship is to be held in August or September’s first week, humidity would be high.
We are confident of having the air-conditioning facility installed by then.
The practice track too would be cooled using the zero carbon emission system.
“There is no doubt that we’d face stiff competition from other bidders.
But considering the successes of our other bids like FIFA World Cup, World Handball Championship in 2015, Asian Games and World Indoor Athletic Championship, we’re confident about the success of our 2017 world athletics bid.
We are looking forward to November,” said Zaini.