By Faisal Abdulhameed al-Mudahka/Editor-in-Chief
Tonight Qatar will mark another major milestone with the opening of the magnificent Al Wakrah Stadium, which is one of the venues of the FIFA World Cup 2022. It is a befitting tribute to the splendid stadium that has been chosen as the arena for hosting a prestigious event like the Amir Cup Final 2019.
Al Wakrah Stadium is the second FIFA World Cup 2022 venue to be ready after the Khalifa Stadium, which was reopened in May 2017, with a spectacular inauguration ceremony and by hosting the final of the Amir Cup. Following renovation, the stadium is now ready to host matches through to the quarter-finals of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar.
Al Wakrah Stadium, one of the most iconic venues of the World Cup, is the first arena to be completed from scratch. We have to be thankful to the thousands of people and numerous stakeholders that have worked tirelessly to prepare the stadium for the momentous occasion today. The match also takes on added significance as it will be the final time legendary midfielder and Supreme Committee Ambassador Xavi Hernández takes to the field. The match will be attended by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani.
It has been a feat of collaboration, organisation and determination to get to this goal. It is a matter of great pride for Qatar to get it ready three-and-a-half years before the tournament.
Al Wakrah Stadium was designed by the legendary architect Zaha Hadid. Jim Heverin, Director, Zaha Hadid Architects, who recently visited the completed venue for the first time said Hadid would have been amazed at how true it is to what “we set out to achieve, how well executed it is, with the beautiful folds and beautiful lines, and all the care and attention”.
The other venues, eight in total, are also on track and are expected to be completed well in time for the eagerly awaited tournament. One of them, Al Bayt Stadium, will serve as a model for stadium construction in future as a world-class edifice that combines heritage, sustainability and environment-friendly development goals, while taking into account the societal requirements.
The Ras Abu Aboud Stadium is a pioneering project, being the first in the history of the World Cup to be entirely dismantled. In addition, it will have a truly unique design, featuring shipping containers to create an extraordinary building block effect. Constructed using shipping containers, removable seats and other modular "building blocks", not only will this innovative, 40,000-seat venue have a remarkable design, but it will be entirely dismantled and repurposed after the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. Its parts will be used in other sporting or projects in poor countries, in co-ordination with FIFA, to set a new standard in sustainability and introduce bold new ideas in tournament legacy planning.
On May 8, 2019 Doha took yet another futuristic turn with the soft opening of the much-awaited Doha Metro, at least one year ahead of schedule. Qatar Rail kicked off a preview service for the first part of the Doha Metro’s Red Line South last Wednesday – a milestone seen to boost the country’s infrastructure in the run-up to the 2022 World Cup.
These momentous achievements have bestowed a huge responsibility on the people of Qatar – the duty to keep them clean, and safe from damage. The authorities will be keen to maintain them spotless but the residents too should show their appreciation by practising the highest standards of cleanliness and civic obligations. One example to follow is the Japanese culture, where the players and the fans make it a point to clean up the dressing room as well as the balconies before they leave the venues. Losing or winning does not influence their behaviour in this regard. We too have to draw from our rich Arab and Islamic culture that permeates every aspect of our life to excel in exemplary public demeanour.
Let the people of Qatar, both citizens and expatriates, show their appreciation for the magnificent edifices and institutions - whether in the sport, cultural, medical, infrastructure or educational sectors, that have come up in the country. These are national assets which have to be preserved for posterity and handed over to the next generations as our cherished legacy.
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