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Posted On: 6 October 2011 07:13 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:11 pm

Doha stakes claim to world athletics with hi-tech plan

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With an estimated budget of around $400m, sport-loving Doha plans to go hi-tech in a bid to stage the World Championships in Athletics in 2017. Bidding for the flagship event in athletics, the Doha bid team yesterday promised to refurbish the imposing Khalifa Stadium, saying a never-used-before 100m video screen will be erected at the main site of the championships. In another first, Doha will make use of eco-friendly cooling system to regulate the temperature inside the Khalifa Stadium that will go for a ‘shading device’ above the field of play to complete its massive refurbishment promise. Doha and London are the two cities bidding for the 2017 World Championships in Athletics. The Doha bid team yesterday unveiled its spectacular hi-tech plans in front of an audience that included the Evaluation Commission of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and international and local media. The Evaluation Commission is headed by Bob Hersh, the senior vice president of the IAAF. The Evaluation Commission completes its two-day visit today after a visit to Al Sadd Stadium, Qatar’s top football facility that has staged international games using carbon-free cooling technology. “This will be truly a spectacular innovation. To have two 100 metre screens inside the Khalifa Stadium will bring athletics action to the fans in a new way,” Abdulla Al Zaini, President of QAAF, said yesterday. Al Zaini, who is the chairman of 2017 Doha Bid, added: “We have expansion plans on the East side of Khalifa Stadium. The seating capacity of 40,000 at the Khalifa Stadium easily matches the IAAF requirement.” The Doha team also presented its proposed media centre that can easily cater to more than 1500 print and television journalists. The media centre is a two-minute walk from the Khalifa Stadium, the venue of the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2006 Asian Games. Al Zaini said Qatar has a budget of between $300m to $400m to deliver on the pledges made in the bid file submitted sometime ago. In addition to the large LCD screen, Al Zaini said the newly refurbished Khalifa Stadium will have 24 new sky boxes as part of its expansion plans. Part of the whopping upgrade budget would be spent on building a new Olympic Museum on the east side of the Khalifa Stadium. Yesterday, the IAAF’s Evaluation Commission visited the Khalifa Stadium and the under-construction Convention Centre coming up at Qatar Foundation. The international and local media were visited the Al Jazeera television headquarters besides being taken to Katara, the country’s unique cultural and heritage. Today, the Evaluation Commission will get a first-hand look of the Al Sadd Stadium’s cooling technology that was presented to the FIFA inspection team last year in September. The Evaluation Commission will be accompanied by Doha 2017 Bid Ambassador Andreas Thorkildsen of Norway. Thorkildsen will coach a young group of athletes who will assemble on the Al Sadd pitch for lessons in javelin throw from the Norwegian Olympic and world champion. The IAAF will vote on the 2017 hosts in an official gathering of the game’s ruling body in Monaco, France, on November 11