Doha 2019 said it is ready to deliver on its promises as the doors were opened to the revamped Khalifa International Stadium ahead of its staging of the World Athletics Championships next year.
Following on from London’s hosting of the event in 2017, the Qatari capital yesterday (Thursday) marked the one-year countdown to the showpiece championships of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).
Khalifa International Stadium has undergone a redevelopment project to make it the most state-of-the-art purpose-built athletics stadium in the world. Attendees at yesterday’s event enjoyed a first-hand experience of what is claimed to be a unique pink track and weather conditions the stadium’s innovative cooling system will offer athletes and fans.
Yesterday’s event started at 3pm local time, when the temperature was around 37 degrees Celsius in Doha. However, track temperatures were set to 24-26 degrees Celsius courtesy of the in-stadium air-conditioning technology, which seeks to guarantee optimal conditions for athletes and fans alike while also being sustainable.
The Global Sustainability Assessment System (GSAS) certified stadium, which will also host matches during football’s 2022 FIFA World Cup, is now ready to stage the 2019 Asian Athletics Championships in April, the official test event for the World Athletics Championships later in the year.
Doha will become the first city in the Middle East to host the Championships when the event takes place from September 27 to October 6 next year. The dates for the 2019 Worlds have been set to avoid the extreme heat of the Qatari summer. Doha traditionally hosts its round of the IAAF Diamond League in May and the 2019 Worlds will mark by far the latest time of year that any of its 16 editions will have been held.
Speaking at yesterday’s event, vice-president and director general of the World Athletics Championships Local Organising Committee and vice-president of the IAAF, Dahlan Al Hamad, said: “Qatar is a young and ambitious nation. We hope that seeing is believing and as you can see today we are ready to deliver upon our promises, from our stadium to our airport, our infrastructure to accommodation and our world-famous hospitality. Everything is in place including a growing excitement and energy amongst the local community.
“In hosting the first ever IAAF World Athletics Championships in the Middle East, we have a shared vision and commitment in partnering with the IAAF, to grow participation of this wonderful sport across Qatar, the region and the world.
“To have such an ambition requires innovative, creative and bold thinking. That is why an exciting new schedule exists with new formats. That’s why this stadium has cooling technology and why we want our young athletes and our local community to experience it live for themselves. That’s why we will introduce a midnight marathon. All these developments take imagination but stem from a single goal of enhancing athletics worldwide.”
An enhanced competition schedule, a first-ever midnight marathon along Doha’s corniche and a first 4x400m mixed relay, have all been previously announced to maximise fan entertainment and global reach of the 2019 Championships.
Image: Doha 2019