Official: Qatar to avoid ‘white elephants’ as it plans third Olympics bid

Even though it is more than a decade away, the 2024 Olympics is very much on Qatar’s mind as it maps out a master plan for the country’s future sports venues.

Qatar has already unsuccessfully bid for the Olympics twice, in part because of the searing heat it sees in the summertime, when the games are usually held.

This week, following an audit of Qatar’s 62 existing venues for usability and proposed 19 new ones, the Olympic Committee’s general secretary Saoud bin Abdulrahman al-Thani unveiled the Qatar Sports Venue Master Plan (QSVMP) with the 2024 Olympics “in mind,” Gulf Times reports:

“Our focus since the beginning of this project has been legacy and ensuring that we avoid white elephants,’ said His Excellency Sheikh Saoud. “We have watched countries build large venues and struggle later with what to do with them; and our team has worked backwards, thinking first about how these venues can be of use in the future before planning their use during major sporting events.” 

All sports venues will also be integrated into Qatar’s future transportation network, said Abdul Rahman al-Malki, Director of Engineering at QOC.

2020 bid fails

Six months ago, the International Olympic Committee cut Doha as a possible host of the 2020 Olympics, citing the heat, concerns over athletes’ health and the effects rescheduling the games to October could have on the televised games.

Previously, the IOC had said moving the games to the cooler fall months in Qatar would not be a “deal-breaker,” but that is not what it stated in its final evaluation report, Reuters reports:

“In July/August, people have more leisure/vacation time. There is therefore a risk that an October Games would become a ‘weekend Olympics Games’ and with a reduced demographic reach, broadcasters would have difficulties in attracting the same audience levels in terms of working people and youth,” it said.

How Qatar, which will also host the 2022 World Cup in the summer months, will allay the IOC’s concerns the next time around remains to be seen.


Credit: Photo by Nick Leonard

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