Qatar keen to host Summer Olympics

Qatar keen to host Summer Olympics
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Published February 9th, 2016 - 15:07 GMT via

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Qatar Olympic Committee logo
Qatar Olympic Committee logo

Despite two unsuccessful bids in the past, Doha has still not given up on its dream to host the Summer Olympics, Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) secretary-general Dr Thani al-Kuwari has said.

“We have a vision and a target, which is to host the Olympic Games one day,” Dr al-Kuwari told the media on the sidelines of the International Sports Press Association (AIPS) Congress at the Sheraton Hotel.

Doha first bid for the 2016 Games which was won by Rio de Janeiro and then the 2020 Games, which went to Tokyo. Qatar let the deadline to bid for the 2024 event pass last September, which means Doha can now only hope to host the quadrennial sporting showpiece in 2028, or later.

Dr al-Kuwari said the infrastructure being developed for the IAAF World Championships in 2019, the FIFA World Cup in 2022 and the 2023 FINA World Swimming Championships means Qatar would have much of the facilities in place when it bids for the Games in the future.

Qatar has already started work on eight FIFA World Cup stadiums, and with the construction of the metro and several expressways in full swing, the infrastructure part of the Games would be well taken care of.

“All the stadiums and the facilities are going to be ready for everything, especially for the World Cup in 2022. These can be used for the Olympics.

“Also, the logistics for those facilities are being completed, so why not? So we are hoping to have (the Olympics) one day, you never know, maybe in 2028.”

Earlier in his address at the AIPS Congress, he said the Qatar Olympic Committee’s main objective was not just to organise sports competitions but to use these events for the overall development of the society.

“Qatar’s evolution as a major sporting hub is part of the nation’s ambitious Qatar National Vision 2030 that stresses on the importance of youth development so that they can face the challenges of the future in an increasingly globalised world,” he pointed out.

“It’s true that Qatar hosts a number of important sporting events and we are proud of this fact, but this is part of a larger plan, which is to focus on our youth and help them develop into fine individuals in accordance with the Qatar National Vision 2030 which was set in motion in 2008.”

He also told visiting sports journalists from around 100 countries that today’s National Sport Day (NSD) is an endeavour to empower the youth because the future of the country depends on them.

“Qatar was the first country in the entire region to have a National Sport Day and the fact that many other countries are keen to emulate it is in itself proof of its success,” he said.

“The National Sport Day was created by a decree from HH the Emir with the specific intention of developing a healthy and vibrant society with an eye on the future. Since the inaugural edition in 2012, it has now become entrenched in our psyche.”

Dr al-Kuwari  lauded the progress of Qatar’s grassroots Olympic movement – the Schools Olympic Programme (SOP) – which has blazed a trail as far as children’s participation in sports is concerned.

The initiative, in which thousands of schoolchildren take part, is aimed at introducing kids as young as five to the spirit and idealism of Olympism in combination with innovative educational programmes that would help their all-round development.

“The Schools Olympic Programme is also a feather in Qatar’s cap because we were the first country to conceive and implement it. It has now grown by leaps and bounds and has earned us accolades from all over the world.”

Dr al-Kuwari  apprised the visiting media of Qatar’s achievements in the sporting arena.

“The 2006 Asian Games were in a way the launching pad for Doha as a major sports hub. Ever since we hosted the continental Games the profile of the country has shot up. After that we hosted numerous global tournaments that earned praise from all quarters for the efficient manner in which they were organised.”

By Anil John

© Gulf Times Newspaper 2015

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