DOHA: Qatar will make a fresh bid to bring the Olympics to the Middle East for the first time in 2024, having missed out on the 2020 Games.
“We will continue on that path and we will continue to bid,” the Qatar Olympic Committee’s Secretary-General Saoud bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said at the Aspire4Sport business conference. “Every time we bid, we are listening and learning to see how we can make our bid stronger.”
“Our 2020 bid was stronger than our 2016 bid because the IOC (International Olympic Committee) executive board accepted our plan to host the Games in the October window, which didn’t happen the first time.”
“We think our next bid (for the Olympics) will be even stronger because of what we have learnt from 2020 and we think that each time we bid, we can get closer,” said Al Thani.
“We think that if we can keep doing that, one day the dream will happen to host the Olympics in the Middle East.”
Qatar, named as surprise host for the 2022 football World Cup, failed to make the short-list for the 2020 Games, leaving Madrid, Tokyo and Istanbul in the running as the leading candidates.
But that has not deterred the country’s leaders, with Al Thani announcing yesterday the results of the Qatar Sports Venue Master Plan. The plan is a two-year audit of the country’s 62 existing sports venues for usability and proposed 11 new ones, in addition to eight venues originally planned by the QOC.
“Our focus since the beginning of this project has been legacy and ensuring that we avoid white elephants,” Sheikh Saoud said.
“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.”
Abdul Rahman Al Malki, director of engineering at QOC, added that “the plan was put into place with the Olympics 2024 in mind”.
The 2016 bid was cut short due to Doha’s plans for Games in October without clearing it with the IOC first. Despite a date exemption for the 2020 bid, Doha again failed to make the shortlist.
It was not just the threat of searing temperatures that frightened away the IOC, but also the prospect of low television ratings if the Olympics was to go up against other major sporting events. The IOC made it clear in their evaluation report that holding the Games in October was a non-starter.