More than 1,200 delegates are arriving in Qatar this week to discuss who will host the 2024 Olympics.
This is the first time the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) will hold its General Assembly in the Gulf.
The assembly opens tomorrow, Nov. 15 at Doha’s Sheraton Grand hotel.
The three 2024 candidate cities are Los Angeles, Budapest and Paris, whose delegates will be bidding and discussing their offerings in front of the association.
This will be one of only three chances for them to do so before a decision is made next year.
After two failed bids, Qatar scrapped plans to try to host the 2024 Summer Olympics, but has expressed interest in the 2028 tournament.
In a statement this week, ANOC President Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah said:
“Over the past few years, Doha has showcased its impressive credentials in hosting major sporting events and the Qatari capital offers the perfect environment for the world’s NOCs to unite together in the spirit of sport.”
Qatar’s Olympic dreams
Qatar formally applied to host the 2016 and 2020 Summer Olympics, but faced criticism due to its intense summer heat.
The bid team proposed moving the games to October, but the country still ultimately failed to make the short-list of contenders both times.
Since then however, Qatar has hosted a slew of major international sporting events. That includes last year’s Men’s Handball World Championship and the AIBA World Boxing Championships.
Its biggest hosting challenge will be the World Cup in 2022, which will leave Qatar with stadiums and training facilities that officials hope can be reused during the Olympics.
The bidding process for the next summer games (2028) is expected to start in 2019, and officials have expressed interest in putting Qatar’s name in the ring.
However, hosting such competitions is expensive and it is unclear how new austerity measures could affect such a decision.
Among those in town for this week’s ANOC event are International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach, delegates from international sports federations and representatives from 205 National Olympic Committees.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti will also be in town on his first official visit since he last saw Emir Sheikh Tamim in Los Angeles a few months ago.
At the time of that September visit, Qatar’s ambassador to the US stated that the visit was aimed at “further enhancing relations between Qatar & California.”
Garcetti will also be presenting LA’s bid to host the 2024 Olympics, which will be decided in September 2017.