Representatives of Doha’s 2030 Asian Games bid are on the ground in Oman after a high-profile delegation arrived in capital Muscat Friday ahead of the final host city election by the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA).
Included in the Qatari delegation are athletes, sports administrators, journalists and other key personnel who will attend meetings to campaign and prepare for a final presentation before Wednesday’s (December 16) vote.
Doha’s only rival is neighboring Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh that is vying to stage its first-ever Asian Games; Doha already hosted the second largest international multi-sport event in 2006. The Riyadh team arrived in Muscat over the weekend.
Doha’s bid is entering the final hours in a sprint, releasing details of further corporate partner support and more encouraging legacy plans for the project that is being described as a national priority and a “gateway to a brighter future for Asian sport.”
This week the bid committee name-dropped leading international corporate partners Qatar Airways, beIN, Qatar Foundation, Aspire Academy, and Ooredoo to underline the credibility of the bid and the expertise behind the project.
The Qatar Foundation has been positioned as a key driver behind the organization of the possible Games. The Foundation is home to top educational institutions and sport facilities and will help steer the organization committee towards goals that will benefit the Asian Olympic family.
On Monday the bid released further details of its legacy program that it plans to launch next year, nine years ahead of the Games’ proposed opening ceremony. Dubbed “Project Legacy 21”, the series of programs will be designed to meet the immediate and long-term needs of Asia’s National Olympic Committee’s (NOCs).
The bid claims that with most Games infrastructure already in place as past legacy from the Doha 2006 Games and the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup, organizers can instead focus more resources on delivering its robust legacy program.
Doha 2030 Asian Games Bid Committee will be staying here at the @jwmarriottmct . Everyone is very excited to have the final chance to explain how all of Asia will belong at Doha 2030.@AsianGamesOCA @theafcdotcom @asianathletics @fibaasia2012 pic.twitter.com/5l5hWF8yrV
— Doha 2030 (@agdoha2030) December 12, 2020
As part of the program, corporate partner Aspire Academy will collaborate with Asia’s NOCs to provide knowledge transfer and training opportunities to athletes and personnel across Asia. Doha 2030 also hoped to develop sub-regional training hubs to benefit elite athletes across the continent.
Project Legacy 21 promises to deliver training camps, a cultural program three years ahead of the Games, a youth camp with participants from each NOC, educational and training opportunities and subsidies to support teams travel and accommodation costs for eligible athletes.
A “Stars of Asia Program” will “develop future ambassadors for sport in Asia by collaborating with all Asian NOCs to invite 90 bright individuals of diverse Asian cultures to take up a full scholarship in Qatar,” a Doha 2030 statement claimed.
Doha 2030 Chair HE Sheikh Joaan said “the role that the Asian Games can play in inspiring hope and celebrating our continent’s diversity is more important now than ever than ever before. Through Project Legacy 21, we aim to leverage Doha’s unique position and deliver meaningful legacy benefits to all of Asia, starting from 2021.
“All Asian NOCs are facing challenges in our countries and as an OCA family we have a responsibility to offer help and support to one another.
“That is why we are ready to share all our time, knowledge and infrastructure, with our Asian brothers and sisters to help them prepare their strongest ever teams for an Asian Games, overcome and build for a brighter future.”
Doha 2030 Asian Games Bit Committee CEO and the secretary general of Qatar Olympic Committee HE Jassim Albuenain said in a statement Monday “[Doha] …is a city where different cultures live side by side in harmony and friendship; where tradition meets modernity and where nature meets human innovation. Doha 2030 would ensure that the special moments the OCA family enjoy in 2030 would go beyond competitions and would be part of the everyday experiences of living in our magical and inclusive city.
For safety reasons amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the host city vote during the OCA’s 39th General Assembly will be conducted online.
A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of GamesBids.com as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. Robert Livingstone is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians.