Qatar looks forward to 2024 Olympics: Noora
TRIBUNE NEWS NETWORK
DOHA THE decision by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) not to shortlist Doha for the Olympics and Paralympic Games 2020 does not curtail the country’s ambitions or its work towards becoming a regional and global sports hub, Doha 2020 officials said, in Quebec City, Canada, on Wednesday.
“We are still committed to our sports legacy projects and to empowering women through sports,” said Doha 2020 CEO Noora al Mannai. “Much of the legacy plans for 2020 will go on; we will digest the findings of the IOC report and look forward to the 2024 race,” she said.
“We are preparing to launch a national campaign to encourage youth to participate in sports, to improve their lifestyle and because we believe that sports has the power to break down barriers, regardless of the decisions made that are beyond our power.” Mannai said the Bid Committee had been disappointed, but knew that for Doha the Olympics were always ‘a question of when, not if.’ “With so many sports venues already in place and budgeted for, we felt that we offered the IOC great certainty and a low cost Games plan as well as an exciting legacy vision, especially around developing women’s sport in the Middle East,” she said.
“The good news is that our National Vision and master plan guarantees an urban fabric that places sport at its heart; therefore Doha will be ready to host the Games whenever the IOC leadership grants the wider IOC membership the opportunity to decide the fate of bidding nations at this stage of the process.” General Secretary of the Qatar Olympic Committee HE Sheikh Saoud bin Abdulrahman al Thani said, “We are obviously very disappointed not to become a Candidate City for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The support we received from the 26 International Federations on the dates we proposed provided conditions for athletes comparable to those of previous Olympic and Paralympic Games, which we believed fulfilled the preconditions of the Executive Board. So we are surprised by this decision. Whilst we felt that the hosting plans and legacy vision we submitted to the International Olympic Committee as part of the Applicant City process were strong and innovative, we of course respect the decision of the IOC Executive Board. “We will study the IOC report, reflect on its findings and take stock as part of our own reflections regarding our ambition to bring the Games to the Middle East for the first time. We wish the Candidate Cities well for the remainder of the campaign.” Meanwhile, the race to host the 2020 Summer Games is now a three-way battle between Istanbul, Madrid and Tokyo after Qatar’s Doha and Azerbaijan’s Baku were dumped as candidates, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said on Wednesday.
The shortlist of candidates to host the world’s biggest multi-sports event was announced at the IOC’s executive board meetings in Quebec City. Baku, which invested more than a billion dollars in sports venues in the past 10 years, was bidding for a second successive time after falling at the first hurdle for the 2016 Games.
Doha, which was proposing to hold the 2020 Olympics in October rather than the usual July/August schedule to avoid the Gulf Arab state’s searing summer heat, is already hosting the 2022 World Cup soccer tournament. The IOC will announce the winner between bids from Tokyo, Madrid and Istanbul in September 2013. Rome pulled out of the running in February due to the country’s efforts to head off a debt crisis.