It’s down to London and Doha in the bid for the 2017 World Athletic Championships, and both countries have high hopes of winning the chance to host the prestigious track and field competition.
A 26-member panel of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) will vote today to choose the winner.
The event isn’t likely to make a profit for the hosts, yet there’s much at stake for both nations. Qatar’s bid for the 2020 Olympic Games would get a boost if it’s chosen to stage track and field’s main championships, while London’s Olympic Stadium will find a use beyond the 2012 Games. U.K. organizers have budgeted for a 25 million-pound ($40 million) loss.
Qatar and England had contrasting fortunes when they last bid for a major sports event. Qatar, a gas-rich, desert state smaller than Connecticut, last year beat out four rivals to become the surprise choice to stage soccer’s 2022 World Cup. England came last out of four bidders to host the same event in 2018…
Both cities have been signing up former athletes as ambassadors. Warner said London has support of more than 80 athletes, including more than half the current world champions like U.S. sprinter Carmelita Jeter and Australian sprint-hurdler Sally Pearson. He said none of those are being paid for their endorsement.
Qatar is paying some athletes like Norwegian Olympic and world champion javelin thrower Andreas Thorkildsen to be ambassadors for its bid.
Additionally, Doha 2017 bid head Sheikh Saoud bin Abdulrahman Al Thani has confirmed that the country offered an almost $8 million donation to the IAAF as part of their bid, the equivalent of the total cost of prize money for the World Championships.
The payment, which is not illegal, could be used by the IAAF for future development, Al Thani said.
What a nail-biter! Who do you think is going to get the bid?