The next two days have the potential to be of great importance to the sporting future of Doha, the sporting landscape of the Middle East and the future of athletics worldwide.
Yesterday evening, the IAAF’s Evaluation Commission, Chaired by Lord Sebastian Coe, Vice President of the IAAF, were welcomed to Doha to analyse our capabilities of hosting the 2019 IAAF World Championships in Athletics. Doha is competing against bids from Eugene, USA, and Barcelona, Spain. Following their visit to each city, the Evaluation Commission will submit a report to be shared with all IAAF Council Members ahead of their vote to decide the winning Bid on 18th November 2014.
We will spend the IAAF’s time in Doha presenting, and showcasing through venue visits, Doha’s state-of-the-art facilities, our proven experience of hosting world-class events, our use of sporting innovation to provide new solutions for sport and our commitment to developing athletics at all levels – in order to demonstrate that Doha would host an exceptional World Championships in 2019.
However, our ambitions are much higher than simply hosting an exceptional World Championships - we want to work in partnership with the IAAF to use the power of hosting one of the biggest and most prestigious Championships in the world to help athletics grow in Qatar, across the whole of the Middle East – for the mutual benefit of athletics in our region and for the benefit of the world of athletics.
The Middle East has never hosted the IAAF World Championships before. This brings a fantastic opportunity to showcase athletics to a new region and a new generation, not just during the week of live sporting action but in the years leading up to 2019 and for many years after the Championships, ensuring a true athletics legacy for our nation and for our region. 60% of the Middle East are under the age of 30 – this huge young and dynamic population would be inspired to participate in athletics, connecting more young people to athletics at a grassroots level, empowering more young females to realise their potential and creating more sporting heroes for generations to come.
Furthermore, hosting major sporting events is part of the Qatar National Vision 2030. There is no better way to develop our people, provide new skills, educate through the values of sport and promote active and healthy lifestyles. Sport challenges, it inspires, it creates sporting heroes and provides role models. The IAAF World Championships are the third largest sporting event in the world and hosting them in Doha would have a profound impact on our nation.
We know as a nation we would unite behind a common cause, shoulder the responsibility that comes with hosting such an occasion and relish the opportunity to show the world our deep passion for sport, our warm hospitality and love of life.
We have been working hard to develop sport at all levels and Doha 2019 would be a catalyst for even further success at every level, instilling sporting values across the nation and wider region. At a grassroots level, the Schools Olympic Programme and National Sports Day have introduced schoolchildren and people of all ages to athletics and a wide variety of sports, and encourage increased participation. They have increased in success year by year and 2014 saw 26,000 students from 461 schools participating in the Schools Olympic Programme. At an elite level, the Aspire Academy for Sports Excellence has this year, once again, proven the success of Qatar’s system of identifying and nurturing talent through the success of Mutaz Barshim and Ashraf Elseify.
Our programmes are already a beacon for sports development across the Middle East but Doha 2019 would provide a springboard for the further expansion of these programmes and improved development at every level of the sporting pathway.
We pride I can say that Doha has become a true global sporting hub in recent years. Not for one single reason or an even an event but a multitude, all showing our relentless ambition to compete, share and support the advancement of sport world-wide. Qatar is making a difference to the world of sport and sport is making a difference to Qatar. we can see a more active, more ambitious nation emerge.
As we look to 2019 we know success does not come easy. Years of planning and hard work is required to achieve the goals we set. Dedication, commitment and belief needs to come from within and be shared by all involved. But you simply need to look at our own sporting talent for inspiration. Qatar is showing to be more than a sporting hub, but serious competitor on the field of play. Over recent months team Qatar has our most successful Asian Games, we are the World 3x3 Basketball Champions and even last week we secured the U19 Asian Football Cup for the very first time with all players coming through the Aspire Academy. Qatar sporting heroes are taking their chance on the world stage.
When it comes to athletics we have a proven track record to point to thanks to our hosting of world-class international sports events, including the 2006 Asian Games, the 2010 IAAF World Indoor Championships and the annual IAAF Diamond League meeting, formerly the IAAF Super Grand Prix, hosted every year since 1997. We have the support of some of the best athletes in the world who have competed in Doha because they recognise our abilities to understand what is important to an athlete and care for them to the highest possible levels. These supporters include 2010 World Indoor Champion, Chris Brown, World and Olympic Champion, Valerie Adams, and European 110m Hurdle Champion, Sergey Shubenkov, who is in Doha this week to support our Bid.
Just as important, if not more so for Qatar is the deep support of our own athletes especially the next generation. Those who will lead Qatar in track and field events, filling stadiums and winning medals in years to come. This week 16 year old Mariam Farid and 15 year old Dalal Al Ajmi will support Qatar’s bid. Both are concrete examples of Qatar's focus on developing female athletics talent.
I’m We are delighted two of Qatar's brightest hopes for future athletics success will be able to tell their story. It is a story of hope, ambition and commitment to make a difference, to succeed and to connect to other young females like them.
At this time of dramatic sporting growth in Qatar, hosting the IAAF World Championships would be the pinnacle of our achievements and our proudest moment. It would be an honour to work in partnership with the IAAF to deliver the greatest ever World Championships, to help realise the potential of global athletics and to cement a true legacy for the sport. If successful we will be honoured to bring our nation together through our shared passion for sport in this global celebration of athletics.
We believe that Doha 2019 is the right time to embrace this unique opportunity to connect the world of athletics.
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