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Monday, August 2, 2021

Qatar ‘committed’ to 2032 Olympics bid despite controversial IOC pick

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In a statement by the Qatar Olympic Committee, the sporting body said it is committed to the to hosting the 2032 Olympics despite the International Olympic Committee’s recent announcement.

Qatar reiterated its “total commitment” to hosting the 2032 Olympics on Friday, following a controversial decision by the the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to choose Brisbane as its preferred partner.

The Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) said it remains committed to dialogue with the IOC’s Future Host Commission as Doha moves forward in its bid to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games for the first time.

“The QOC presented its initial plans to the Future Host Commission on 3 February 2021 as part of the continuous dialogue phase of the IOC’s new bid process. The QOC showcased how its bid is fully aligned with Qatar’s National Vision 2030 to advance human, social, economic and environmental development through sport, and has the full support of the Qatar Government,” the Qatari sporting body said in a statement.

The move will allow QOC to “help spread the principles of Olympism beyond Qatar and further unite the Middle East region – a region that has never hosted the Games before,” the statement added.

Qatar’s masterplan for the games comprises of more than 80% existing venues, all of which have been tried and tested with International Sports Federations during many high-level events hosted in Qatar.

These include the 2019 World Athletics Championships and 2018 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships, the QOC added, noting the Gulf state’s “extensive experience in hosting major sporting events” ahead of the FIFA World Cup 2022.

QOC President Sheikh Joaan Bin Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani said hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games 2032 remains an ultimate ambition for Qatar.

“We have listened and learned from our two previous bids and humbly believe that we are now perfectly positioned to deliver a low-risk, sustainable and world-class edition of Games, which is perfectly aligned with Olympic Agenda 2020+5,” he said.

“We are looking forward to continuing our dialogue with the Future Host Commission. With the Games 11 years away, we hope to have the opportunity to discuss our plans with the Commission and develop our bid further, before a final decision is taken. We are confident that in continuing our dialogue with the IOC we can demonstrate how the Games in Qatar would make history, delivering an unprecedented legacy for our region and the Olympic Movement.”

Read also: Germany slams ‘non transparent’ IOC decision over 2032 potential host

The IOC’s decision to name Brisbane as its partner raised eyebrows last week, with German officials publicly denouncing the move and criticising what was described as the sporting body’s new, non-transparent bidding process.

Partially introduced by IOC Vice-President John Coates, the new system includes talks with interested cities or regions instead of having cities go through the more traditional bidding process.

Coates’ involvement triggered questions on conflict of interest, especially with his simultaneous position as the Australian Olympic Committee president.

However, the Australian official’s reputation has also come under the spotlight, with particular focus on suspected corruption and vote buying.

In 1999, Coates was reported to have made offers to two African IOC members the night before Sydney won the right to host the 2000 Olympics.

Suspicions of foul play in the latest IOC decision also emerged over the fact that the partner host was announced 11 years before the event, which has never before been the case.

Dagmar Freitag, chair of the parliamentary sports commission of Germany’s lower house, the Bundestag, described the new process, which aimed to be more cost effective and apolitical, as non transparent.

Athletes Germany Spokesman Max Hartung also noted that “if the process is incomprehensible, then distrust and suspicion of arbitrary decisions arise.”

Brisbane still needs to undergo some administrative procedures before potentially being confirmed as the 2032 Olympics and Paralympics host city by July.

Qatar and Australia are fierce competitors in getting their hands on rights to host the games – with both nations boasting adequate infrastructure. With several global championships under its belt, Doha already has existing and planned transport infrastructure and accommodation, which allows the QOC to promise a low-risk Games, free from cost overruns.

Qatar’s proposed Olympic venues are well served by the extensive transport network, helping to ensure minimal travel times during the Games and accessibility for a meaningful post-Games community legacy.

Other bidding nations, especially those in Europe, have in recent months been more preoccupied with the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The Olympic rings are a symbol of peace, unity and hope for people around the world, including the people of our region,” an earlier QOC statement said.


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