By Sports Reporter/London
Qatar brought the world of athletics together to celebrate Doha’s hosting of the 2019 IAAF World Championships as the city prepares to receive the flag from London next week. Doha will be the next host of the world’s third largest sporting event following the conclusion of the London World Championships on Sunday, bringing the event to the Middle East for the first time in history.
Over 500 people attended a reception hosted by the Doha 2019 Organising Committee at London’s breath-taking Sky Garden with the city’s stunning skyline as a backdrop. Attendees included International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) president Sebastian Coe, members of the IAAF, member federations from around the world, sponsors and organising committees.
Speaking on behalf of the Doha 2019 Organising Committee, Doha 2019 vice president and director general of Doha 2019, and IAAF vice president Dahlan al-Hamad said, “Hosting athletics flagship event is a natural next step on our historic sporting journey. We are committed to combining our passion for athletics, our experience and knowledge of hosting major athletics events, and our warm hospitality and rich culture – to organise a unique, memorable and highly successful World Championships.
“Hosting the World Championships in the Middle East for the first time in history provides the opportunity to introduce athletics to new audiences and new markets, inspire new athletes and capture the attention of new fans. The whole of the Doha 2019 team is fully committed to embracing this unique opportunity – and we will be working hard over the next two years to ensure that we maximise the full potential of our region’s first ever World Championships.”
Speaking further about the impact that the World Championships can have on the region, particularly with regards to women’s sport, Sheikha Asma al-Thani, Communications and Marketing director of Doha 2019 and the Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC), said, “It is our ambition that showcasing Arab women in athletics through the World Championships will help to inspire more young girls from across the region – not just to become future champions but to participate at any level – as athletes, coaches, officials or administrators. We want young girls to see that anything is possible and that they can achieve their dreams. We hope to break down barriers and change perceptions of Arab women in sport – and to support the growth and development of women’s athletics – and women’s sport in general – across the Middle East.”
Guests at the reception were able to sample Qatar’s warm hospitality, unique culture, and history and heritage of athletics through Arabic calligraphy workshops, a photo exhibition, a falcon demonstration, henna painting and more.
The reception took place ahead of the evening session of day four of competition of the London 2017 World Championships. Team Qatar’s athletes have had a successful start to the World Championships with Abdallaleh Haroun scheduled to run last night’s 400m semi-finals and Abderrahman Samba qualifying for tonight’s 400m hurdles final.
Later in the week, Olympic silver and bronze medallist high jumper, Mutaz Barshim, double world junior champion, Ashraf Elseify and rising star in javelin, Ahmed Bader, will be in action. The flag handover from London to Doha will take place with a ceremony in the London 2017 stadium following the final session of athletics on Sunday.
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