Doha or London? IAAF to pick 2017 host today
Friday, 11 November 2011 03:10
MONACO: Staging the world championships in the Middle East for the first time would “open the gate” for athletics to reach undeveloped regions and markets, Doha 2017 bid head Sheikh Saoud bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said yesterday.
Qatar’s bid to stage the global track and field showpiece for the first time was part of a “masterplan” for sport in the desert nation, Al Thani said, following on from a successful bid to stage the 2022 World Cup and their candidacy to host the 2020 Olympic Games.
The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) will choose the 2017 hosts today at the end of a three-day Council session with Doha up against London. The decision will be made after a vote by the 26 Council members.
“By going to a new region you are opening the gate and removing obstacles in front of athletics to reach to any nation or any country,” Al Thani told a news conference.
“In Qatar, the government has put sport as one of the pillars of our society. Whatever it takes to develop society and the infrastructure of sport - Qatar is doing.
“In this part of the world there are more than 450 million people -- by having such a big event here will send a message to other countries, to the region, that you can develop youth through sport, that you can develop society through sport. This is the message that we want to reach the Council tomorrow.”
Al Thani said the IAAF had already shown their “flexibility” in considering Qatar’s plan to stage the championships in late September, rather than the traditional August date for the biennial event, to escape the worst of the fierce summer heat.
Widespread concerns were raised at Qatar’s intention to host the 2022 soccer World Cup in the summer, albeit in air-cooled stadiums, but Al Thani said temperatures in late September were much kinder.
“To be clear, the end of September and the beginning of October in Doha, it’s not like July or August. It’s more like July or August in European cities and the humidity is not as great,” he said.
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