BY RIZWAN REHMAT
DOHA: Doha feels the proposed September-October dates for the 2019 World Athletics Championships would suit the athletes who will get a rare chance to end their track and field season for the first time in the Arab world.
Qatar Athletics Federation (QAF) President Dahlan Al Hamad said Doha would even consider providing cooling technology at the main venue of the championship if it was needed.
Doha is competing against Eugene and Barcelona in a three-way bid for the IAAF 2019 World Championships.
Doha hosted the 2010 IAAF World Indoor Championships that was staged at the state-of-the-art Aspire Academy drawing large crowds.
The Qatari capital also opens the IAAF’s Diamond League series each season.
This year’s first round will be staged tomorrow at Suheim Bin Hamad Stadium.
“We will try to be fair to all athletes. The timing of the 2019 World Championships will be end of September, beginning of October,” Al Hamad said during an informal gathering with international and local media yesterday.
“I think this will be good. It will be the end of the season. Climate-wise the dates would be good,” Al Hamad added.
“We have no worries on the climate. It (the dates) will give everybody the chance to be here. The athletics family will get to close the season in Qatar,” the QAF President said. “The athletics season closes in August-September. So we continue our competitions and complete the season here,” he added.
All three cities - Doha, Barcelona and Eugene have experience of hosting major athletics meetings.
Doha staged the 2006 Asian Games in December. Barcelona, hosts of the successful 1992 Olympic Games, staged the 2010 European Athletics Championships.
Eugene, whose fellow Oregon city Portland will host the 2016 World Indoor Championships, is where leading sportswear firm Nike started.
When asked if cooling technology would be used during the two-week athletics gala, Al Hamad said the option was there for Doha to make use of.
“We have the cooling technology. We will not neglect this idea of cooling. If weather changes, if we need to install the cooling system, the government has plans to tackle this at (sports) stadiums,” Al Hamad said.
“We are open to the idea. If we have to have it, we will have it,” he said without elaborating.
Al Hamad said Doha picked up vital lessons from its unsuccessful bid for the 2015 World Championships which will be held in London.
“We had bid for the 2017 worlds. Our friends from London won the bid. We congratulated them. We saw athletics at the Olympic Games in 2012. We believe that in 2017 we will have one of the best athletics world championships,” Al Hamad said.
“London is home for athletics. We are bidding for 2019. Two of our friends - the US and Spain are also bidding. All of these countries will take care of our sport. We will see how it goes,” Al Hamad added.
“We are ready to organize the 2019 World Championships. We will take all measures to put up a good bid. We will accept any kind of decision.
“We will keep developing our sports whether we get 2019 or not,” he added.
“First of all, it is not a loss,” Al Hamad said when reminded of the unsuccessful bid. “For the IAAF family, it was a win. Second, in every sport there is one winner. I am happy for London,” Al Hamad said.
“London is one of the many countries who have helped develop the sport. It was a decision of the IAAF Council. We are satisfied. We are proud that an athletics-loving country will host the worlds. We have learned our lessons. Any areas (ignored) in our previous bid will be covered this time. Maybe the bid for 2017 was lost but Qatar won in so many ways,” the QAF President said.