By Yash Mudgal/Doha
While hosting the Olympic Games is definitely a part of Qatar’s massive future sports development plan, no final decision has been made on bidding for the 2024 Games.
Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) secretary general HE Sheikh Saoud bin Abdulrahman al-Thani was talking at a press conference announcing the GSAS 4 Stars recognition for the Lusail Multipurpose Hall and Ali Bin Hamad Al Attiya Arena yesterday.
“It is not a matter of Qatar wanting to bid for the Olympics or not. It’s the time when Qatar has to decide when to go for it. No decision has been made about the 2024 Olympic bidding as yet,” he said.
“Qatar had shown interest for the 2016 and 2020 Olympic Games and the commitment that Qatar had for the world championships in the past will continue in future as well,” he said.
Sheikh Saoud added: “On January 15, the International Olympic Committee sent a circular to all NOCs and said the members have to decide for the Olympic bidding by September. So there is still time and everybody will know about our interest for the 2024 Olympics.
“In the last few years, we have hosted several world championships and many more are lined up now. The World Boxing Championship will be held later this year followed by the World Road Cycling Race Championship. We are also hosting World Athletics Championships in 2019.
He said, “Holding the Olympic Games is part of our huge future sports development plan. We understand the value and benefits of sports, so we’ll continue to have international events in Qatar.”
He also said Qatar was organising over 40 international events every year and the strategy is to increase the number by 2020.
“Right now, we’re holding 43 international tournaments and championships each year. But this is not enough for us. We plan to increase the number soon and we’ll like to have 52 international events by 2020. This number will average one international event each week for the year. Also, we’re looking from the sustainability point of view,” he added.
Sheikh Saoud was delighted with Qatar’s remarkable show in the on-going World Men’s Handball Championship.
“It’s been a great tournament so far. When the host team is playing well, the event becomes all the more interesting. We have seen handball at a high level.
“We all were delighted when Qatar reached quarterfinals yesterday. Defending champions Spain, Olympic champions France, Croatia and Slovenia are all great teams. So it has been an excellent event not just from the organising point of view, but also from the competition angle. This is something we’re all delighted about,” Sheikh Saoud said.
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