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Monday, September 20, 2021

Doha, Baku fail to make 2020 Olympic bid shortlist

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Doha will not be the host of the 2020 Olympics, the International Olympic Committee has announced.

Per analyst predictions, the IOC has decided to cut Doha and Baku before it enters the final decision-making phase, officials announced in a press conference held Wednesday evening (early Thursday morning for us) in Quebec City.

That means Tokyo, Madrid and Istanbul will vie for hosting rights until the IOC announces its final decision in September 2013.

Qatar also failed to advance past this stage in its bid for the 2016 Olympics, in part because it proposed pushing back the games into the fall due to the summer heat.

This time around, the IOC had assured holding the Olympics in October would not be a “deal-breaker.”

In response to questions about why Doha had been cut, officials repeated that weather and the date change were not the “only factors.”

During the 2020 campaign, Doha ran on a platform of “inspiring change,” saying the bid represents all of MENA. It also promised to expand opportunities for female athletes across the region.

The Doha 2020 Bid Committee’s reaction to the news on Twitter was upbeat:

And the committee followed that tweet up with a statement saying the decision “does not curtail the country’s ambitions” and promised to carry out planned projects and to empower the region’s female athletes.

Noora Al Mannai, CEO of the Doha 2020 bid, said in released remarks: 

“With so many sports venues already in place and budgeted for, we felt we offered the IOC great certainty and a low cost Games plan as well as an exciting legacy vision, especially around developing women’s sport in the Middle East…

Nevertheless, much of the legacy plans for ’20 will go on; we’ll digest the findings of the IOC report and look forward to the 2024 race.”

Much of the initial reaction on Twitter was similarly gracious:

Some criticized the decision:

And a few on Twitter couldn’t resist taking a swipe at Qatar amid allegations of buying the 2022 World Cup:

What are your thoughts?

Credit: Image courtesy of Doha 2020’s Facebook page 

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