Browsing '2020 olympics' News

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.

Thoughts?

Credit: Photo by Nick Leonard

Doha is too small, too hot, and too expensive to bid for the Olympics. The unspoken word was equally clear: it is also too rich to risk letting them to try.

Paul Kelso, chief sports reporter for the Telegraph, in a piece explaining the International Olympic Committee’s rationale behind cutting Doha from the 2020 bid campaign.

The IOC cited numerous technical reasons for cutting Doha, including the heat, concerns over athletes’ health and the effects rescheduling the games could have on the televised games.

But it was also about the politics, Kelso argues:

Doha was always the more sensitive issue. The tiny Gulf state faces legitimate questions about its ability to stage the Games, but with its capture of the 2022 World Cup its claims could not be entirely ignored…

The IOC has watched the fallout from Fifa’s decision to step into the unknown with Qatar and learned the lesson. The reputational impact for football’s world governing body of that decision still resonates 18 months after it was made.

Kelso also notes that unlike the other four cities in the running, the decision on Doha was not unanimous either in terms of support or no-confidence.

Qatar failed to make the short-list by a vote of 9-3, and Doha is expected to build on those three votes of support when it plans to return with a bid for 2024.

Thoughts?

Credit: Photo by Gum

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:

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:

Some criticized the decision:

And a few on Twitter couldn’t resist taking a swipe at Qatar amid allegations of buying the 2022 World Cup:

What are your thoughts?

Credit: Image courtesy of Doha 2020’s Facebook page