Doha will not be the host of the 2020 Olympics, the International Olympic Committee has announced.
Per analyst predictions, the IOC has decided to cut Doha and Baku before it enters the final decision-making phase, officials announced in a press conference held Wednesday evening (early Thursday morning for us) in Quebec City.
That means Tokyo, Madrid and Istanbul will vie for hosting rights until the IOC announces its final decision in September 2013.
Qatar also failed to advance past this stage in its bid for the 2016 Olympics, in part because it proposed pushing back the games into the fall due to the summer heat.
This time around, the IOC had assured holding the Olympics in October would not be a “deal-breaker.”
In response to questions about why Doha had been cut, officials repeated that weather and the date change were not the “only factors.”
During the 2020 campaign, Doha ran on a platform of “inspiring change,” saying the bid represents all of MENA. It also promised to expand opportunities for female athletes across the region.
The Doha 2020 Bid Committee’s reaction to the news on Twitter was upbeat:
Thank you for all of your support! We could have never gotten this far without you! See you in #2024! #Doha2020
— Doha 2020 الدوحة (@doha2020qa) May 23, 2012
And the committee followed that tweet up with a statement saying the decision “does not curtail the country’s ambitions” and promised to carry out planned projects and to empower the region’s female athletes.
Noora Al Mannai, CEO of the Doha 2020 bid, said in released remarks:
“With so many sports venues already in place and budgeted for, we felt 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…
Nevertheless, much of the legacy plans for ’20 will go on; we’ll digest the findings of the IOC report and look forward to the 2024 race.”
Much of the initial reaction on Twitter was similarly gracious:
Baku and Doha miss out. Think it was just too early for Doha to bid for the Games – though it won’t be the last we’ve heard from them.
— Christian Radnedge (@ChristianRad) May 23, 2012
Congrats to the candidate cities and DOHA will be Back , #Qatar never goes silent in the night and never gives up without a fight GO #DOHA !
— Nawaf Al Thani (@NawafAlThani) May 23,2012
Some criticized the decision:
Doha fails to make the cut as a Candidate City for 2020 Olympics.Some blatantly biased reports by a section of western media did the damage.
— D Ravi Kumar (@editorqatar) May 23, 2012
And a few on Twitter couldn’t resist taking a swipe at Qatar amid allegations of buying the 2022 World Cup:
Qatar misses cut for 2020 Summer Olympics. Guess Jacques Rogge wasn’t as impressed with their bribe as Sepp Blatter was.
— Kevin McElligott (@kevinmcelligott) May 23, 2012
Ooops, Doha 2020 is out in first round decision by IOC Exco. Does no one in the IOC like the special gifts from Qatar? #olympics2020 #wc2020
— Jens Weinreich (@jensweinreich) May 23, 2012
What are your thoughts?
Credit: Image courtesy of Doha 2020’s Facebook page