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Qatar to upstage London and bid for 2017 World Champs

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Qataris set to upstage rival bidders London in their bid to host the 2017 world track and field championships.

Qatari officials plan to unveil retractable seating and a brand new athletics track at their flagship Khalifa Stadium in their bid to host the 2017 world track and field championships.

By Jacquelin Magnay,
Olympics Editor in Doha
UK Telegraph
01 May 2011

The Qataris are also poised to use the same convincing tactics as their triumphant 2022 Fifa world cup campaign to underscore their athletics bid – which if successful, could also launch a future Olympic Games bid.

The fears of Neale Coleman, the adviser to Mayor of London Boris Johnson, who told the London Assembly last month that the city will have to increase its bid budget to rival the Qatari cash is starkly evident here.

London expect a financial benefit of 100 million pounds from hosting the world track and field championships, but the cost of mounting a bid has not been released.

UK Athletics is hoping to sway officials from the IAAF that they are capable of hosting the world championships, noting that three previous failed attempts were mere glitches and that Britain had a new political will for big events on the back of the London 2012 Olympics.

The Olympic Stadium, complete amid an almost finished Olympic Park, will be an impressive showcase when athletics officials arrive in October for an inspection, with a decision made in November.

But in the Middle East, million dollar life size working prototypes, a stunning Aspire Centre for Sports Excellence – which has indoor facilities for 13 sports and 200 athletes under a modern high-spec building and the Qatari royal family's commitment to putting sport at the forefront of the country's fast growing development are persuasive arguments for voting officials.

It is easy to see how the Fifa voting delegates were wooed by the money-is-no-object finishing touches and athletics officials are likely to be similarly impressed.

Abdullah al-Zaini, President of the Qatar Association of Athletics Federation (QAAF) said this Friday's opening Samsung Diamond League meeting in Doha will be sold out and also present a strong message to the IAAF ''we are ready to host the world championship in 2017''.

The Qataris plan to revamp Khalifa, a 50,000 seat football stadium, to accommodate a new running track with retractable seating so that it can then be converted to host one of the semifinal Fifa world cup matches. This comes as the future of the athletics track at the Olympic Park continues to be questioned.

The Olympic Park Legacy Company is facing difficulties in signing West Ham as its leasee because of legal action taken by the football club Leyton Orient. But there are no problems about legacy or breaking of promises, or legal dramas here.

Just outside of Doha, officials have built a 500 seat stadium prototype in just four and a half months to illustrate their sustainable, carbon free air conditioning system.

The system uses a solar panel ''farm'' to superheat water to nearly 200 degrees Celsius and then chills it by chemical reaction with lithium bromide to a cool six degrees.

This cooled water is then pumped through pipes under the stadium seating and through ducts around the playing arena to cool the stadium.

''The concept of using air-conditioned stadiums in Doha is not new, we already have an air-conditioned stadium here, but using efficient and sustainable ways of cooling the stadium is new,'' the technical project manager of the air cooling prototype Dario Cadavid said.

''When the Fifa inspection team was here it was 42 degrees, but sitting in this uncovered pitch (prototype) was 23 degrees. This technology is scaleable so the bigger it gets, say a 90,000 seat stadium, the more efficient it is.''

On Saturday night at the World Conference on Sport and the Environment, the IOC president Jacques Rogge awarded Qatari heir apparent His

Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani an environmental award for the country's efforts in using the sustainable air conditioning solutions.



Qatar confident in 2017 Track Worlds bid

By Associated Press
Universal Sport
May 7, 2011

DOHA, Qatar (AP) - Qatar is hoping its success in winning the 2022 World Cup bid will sway voters to support another ambitious proposal - the 2017 world athletics championships.

The Qatar Athletics Federation plans to employ a similar strategy as that for the World Cup bid, campaigning hard to dispel the notion that the tiny desert nation is too hot in the summer to host big sports events, federation president Abdulla Ahmed al-Zaini said on Saturday.

It plans to air condition the main venue, Khalifa Stadium, using some of the same solar-powered, cooling technology planned for the 2022 World Cup. He said cool air would be piped throughout the stadium, enabling conditions inside to remain about 27 degrees C (81 F) even as they soar to well above 40 degrees in other parts of Doha.

"The issue with the World Cup was the heat and we face the same issue actually," Al-Zaini said. "For the football and FIFA, the Qatar bid had a solution and convinced people there to vote for the bid. So we will use the same strategy."

Doha, which hosted the Diamond League season opener on Friday, is the only one of five cities outside Europe bidding for the games. The other competitors including London, Berlin, Budapest and a Spanish city to be confirmed.

Formal bids must be submitted by Sept. 1.

Al-Zaini wouldn't say how much the oil-and gas-rich country plans to spend if it wins the bid but did say its proposal also includes expanding the 40,000-seat stadium and building a restaurant and training facility nearby. He said the government was firmly behind the bid and wants to use the event - just as it did the World Cup bid - to help raise the country's profile.

"The government is trying to make sport here in Qatar as an issue for everyone, to use it to attract people to come to Qatar and make all the world focus on Qatar," Al-Zaini said. "It's the kind of strategy they are following now. Qatar is a developed country and has a lot of (money) from the oil and gas. They (the government) needs Qatar to be in the front."

He said the 2017 bid is part of a government campaign to boost funding of sports and education.

"They want to make a healthy and educated generation," he said. "It's better than building an army. An army is not a good investment in the people. People are more valuable than buying weapons and putting them into storage."

But Al-Zaini insisted he was realistic about winning the bid, considering many of the other countries have more established athletics cultures and top-notch facilities.

"We know our competitors are strong and it won't be easy," Al-Zaini said. "London, Spain have good reputations, good facilities."

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