Qataris optimistic about nation's ability to host top athletic events

Qatar has already won the right to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and is looking to host the 2020 Olympics too. [Mohamad Dabbouss/Reuters]

Qatar has already won the right to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and is looking to host the 2020 Olympics too. [Mohamad Dabbouss/Reuters]

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Qatar's recent bid to host the 2020 Olympics has raised questions about its ability to host two prominent international events separated just two years apart: the 2020 Olympics and the 2022 World Cup, already won by Qatar.

Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, Crown Prince and Chairman of the Qatar Olympic Committee, submitted a request in late August for Qatar to host the Olympic Games and the Special Olympics in 2020.

Sheikh Tamim said after submitting the bid to the International Olympic Committee, "It seems that this decision is suitable for the dream that the Middle East can host the Olympic Games at this time. The Qatari bid will represent the inspiration to establish peace in the region, which is one of our region's priorities, a region where the youth are the majority of the population."

Doha will compete against Baku, Istanbul, Rome, Madrid and Tokyo to host the 2020 Olympics. The host city will be selected in September 2013.

Mohammed Daham, a former player for the Qatar national football team, believes Qatar is able to host the two events because it "has all the qualifications that make it a suitable place for organising such competitions."

Daham told Al-Shorfa that winning the World Cup bid gave Qatar the best chance to host the Olympics because "the 2022 projects will be completed according to plan, which is before the start of the World Cup by about two and a half years, meaning that projects planned for the World Cup could be used for the Olympics."

Qatar had applied to host the 2016 Olympics, but the International Olympic Committee selected Rio de Janeiro.

Jamal al-Ani, an economic analyst, said the global recession might continue for several years "which may lead some of the major capitals that applied to host the event to vacate their bids, and Qatar might be the most prepared to host such tournaments."

Al-Ani added, "Qatar has strong economic growth, and it is expected to reach 30% this year which is very high. It also has international investments in non-oil and gas industries, which provides major revenue for the state. These will provide immunity against most of the economic fluctuations that other great capitals are exposed to, making it the perfect place to organise global championships."

Nasser al-Fadala, director of sports activity at the Al-Khraitiyat Club, said Qatar gained considerable experience from hosting major sporting events in the past and stressed it has the qualifications and the personnel that qualify it to organise large global events.

He said Qatar "successfully hosted the Asian Games and will organise the 2011 Pan Arab Games, which will earn it more experience to organise the major global events."

Masaad Al Ibrahim, a consulting engineer at the Al-Baraha trading and contracting company, told Al-Shorfa he was concerned Qatar will not be able to complete all the necessary projects before the 2020 Olympics.

"The projects scheduled for completion are large and complex, and we observe every day fluctuations in the global economy," he said. "It probably is not reflected on the Qatari economy now, but who knows what will happen in a year or two?"

Al-Ibrahim added, "There are major fluctuations that are happening that might affect our domestic economy, which will prompt companies to delay delivery on projects. This is a problem that must be taken into account."

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