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Qatar turns to World Cup A/C solutions for athletics championships

Qatar is hoping the air-conditioning solutions proposed for the successful 2022 World Cup bid will also help secure the 2017 world athletics championships bid

According to USAToday the Qatar Athletics Federation plans to employ a similar strategy as that for the World Cup bid, campaigning hard to dispel the notion that the tiny desert nation is too hot in the summer to host big sports events, federation president Abdulla Ahmed al-Zaini said on Saturday.

It plans to air condition the main venue, Khalifa Stadium, using some of the same solar-powered, cooling technology planned for the 2022 World Cup. He said cool air would be piped throughout the stadium, enabling conditions inside to remain about 27 deg C (81 F) even as they soar to well above 40 degrees in other parts of Doha.

“The issue with the World Cup was the heat and we face the same issue actually,” Al-Zaini said. “For the football and FIFA, the Qatar bid had a solution and convinced people there to vote for the bid. So we will use the same strategy.”

Doha, which hosted the Diamond League season opener on Friday, is the only one of five cities outside Europe bidding for the games. The other competitors including London, Berlin, Budapest and a Spanish city to be confirmed.

Formal bids must be submitted by Sept. 1.

Al-Zaini wouldn’t say how much the oil-and gas-rich country plans to spend if it wins the bid but did say its proposal also includes expanding the 40,000-seat stadium and building a restaurant and training facility nearby. He said the government was firmly behind the bid and wants to use the event — just as it did the World Cup bid — to help raise the country’s profile.

“The government is trying to make sport here in Qatar as an issue for everyone, to use it to attract people to come to Qatar and make all the world focus on Qatar,” Al-Zaini said. “It’s the kind of strategy they are following now. Qatar is a developed country and has a lot of (money) from the oil and gas. They (the government) needs Qatar to be in the front.”

He said the 2017 bid is part of a government campaign to boost funding of sports and education.

“They want to make a healthy and educated generation,” he said. “It’s better than building an army. An army is not a good investment in the people. People are more valuable than buying weapons and putting them into storage.”

But Al-Zaini insisted he was realistic about winning the bid, considering many of the other countries have more established athletics cultures and top-notch facilities.

“We know our competitors are strong and it won’t be easy,” Al-Zaini said. “London, Spain have good reputations, good facilities.”

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