Doha marks one-year countdown of IAAF World Championships

Sajith B Warrier

Bengaluru/Doha, September 28: Doha marked the one-year countdown of the International Association of Athletics Federation's (IAAF) World Championships by opening the doors of the upgraded Khalifa International Stadium completed stadium, showcasing its state-of-the-art sustainable cooling system and revealing ticket options that will allow fans to watch the action in new ways.

For four days, the local organising committee took the IAAF through their detailed plans and played host to team leaders and coaches from 30 nations, as they begin preparations for their athletes and teams to complete in the 17th IAAF World Athletics Championships.

Qatar's world-class 400M hurdler and 2018 Asian Games champion Abderrahman Samba and promising sprint talent Mariam Farid, along with officials and sponsors addressed the media as Qatar gets ready to welcome the world of athletics and stage the biggest sporting event in the nation and region's history.

Seeing is believing

Speaking on the finish line of the athletics track at Khalifa International Stadium, Vice President and Director General of the IAAF 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. 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."

Trusted partner

Commenting on the one-year countdown, IAAF President Sebastian Coe said:

"Qatar has been hosting official IAAF events for over 21 years and in the organising committee we have a trusted partner who is committed to delivering a World Athletics Championship which makes a real difference to the world of athletics.

Stadium of significance

Someone familiar with Aspire Zone is Team Qatar's own Samba. Speaking after experiencing the track and conditions, he said:

"My heart is already racing, and the adrenaline is pumping just by standing on the track. To compete in a stadium of this significance in front of my family and nation will be amongst the greatest moments of my career."

Extensive site visit

A large team of IAAF event and technical experts conduced an extensive site visit with the Doha 2019 Local Organising Committee, part of the process of co-ordination that precedes every major championships.

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.

Real change

Commenting on the opportunity for women, Sheikha Asma Al Thani, Director of Marketing and Communications for IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 added:

"Looking around, it is easy to see that a lot has been built. But at the same time a lot of barriers and perceptions of Arab women in sport need changing. Real change will only be possible by ensuring as many young girls are in the stadium as boys to witness the performances of world champion athletes through their own eyes."

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

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