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Doha steps up preps for 2019 IAAF World Championships

The Khalifa International Stadium which will host the 2019 IAAF World Championships. PHOTO/IAAF

DOHA, Qatar, Sep 25 – Doha is preparing to stage a spectacular IAAF World Championships next year, when it will become the first city in the Middle East to host athletics’ premier showcase event.

A large team of IAAF event and technical experts has spent the last two days conducting an extensive site visit with the Doha 2019 Local Organising Committee, part of the process of coordination that precedes every major championships.

IAAF Vice President Dahlan Al Hamad, who is also the Vice-Chairman and Director-General of the Local Organising Committee, said that with little more than one year to go to the opening day of the championships, he was confident that Doha would be ready to host the athletes of the world.

“Our airport and hotels are ready, our stadium is ready, our ticket programme and brand will be revealed when we celebrate One Year to Go on Thursday (September 27),’’ he said. “All the big pieces are in place. Our task over the next year is to link all the pieces together as we prepare to stage an innovative and exciting event that will engage athletics fans both near and far.”

The highlight of the visit was the demonstration of the world-first air-conditioning system that will keep Khalifa International Stadium at a comfortable temperature for athletes, officials and fans, protecting all from Qatar’s desert climate.

IAAF Council member Geoff Gardner, who led the federation’s team, said everyone was impressed by the effectiveness of the stadium cooling system.

“I don’t know if the rest of the world really believed this was possible but it’s an amazing system and it shows that our championships can be conducted here in a good environment for the athletes,’’ he said.

“There are always challenges preparing for a major event like this but if the Doha LOC rises to all those challenges as it has to this one, then our event is in safe hands.

“We have made good progress in our planning over the weekend. One of the goals was to forge closer relationships between key personnel at the LOC and the IAAF because that united team will form the foundation for a successful championships in just over a year’s time.”

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National team leaders from some 30 countries have now arrived in Doha to conduct their own inspection of competition and training venues, hotels and logistical plans.

On Thursday, the LOC will release details of the ticketing programme and launch the event logo and branding to celebrate One Year to Go to the 2019 IAAF World Championships.

There will be a series of milestones for the Doha organisers over the coming months, including a test of the lighting for the marathon course in October, the World Broadcasters Meeting and Press Agencies Meeting in November, the Asian Athletics Championships next April, which will serve as a full test event for the championships as they will be held in the Khalifa Stadium, and the annual Diamond League meeting in May.

Qatar has an extensive history as a host of international athletics events, from the first ever IAAF Grand Prix in 1997 to the Doha Diamond League over the last nine years, and the 2010 IAAF World Indoor Championships.

The 2019 IAAF World Championships will be held from September 27 to October 6 in Doha, Qatar.

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