The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) evaluation committee arrived in Doha Tuesday to kick off a three-day site inspection of Qatar’s 2030 Asian Games bid.
The team led by Chair Andrey Kryukov landed in the capital’s Hamad International Airport after wrapping up a similar inspection of rival bid Riyadh in Saudi Arabia – a project described by OCA officials of having “good potential.”
Doha plans to leverage experience gained when the city last hosted the Asian Games in 2006, and the legacy developed for the FIFA World Cup that Qatar will host in 2022.
“It will be our pleasure to welcome our esteemed colleagues and friends from the OCA Evaluation Committee,” Doha 2030 CEO HE Jassim Bin Rashid Albuenain said in a statement.
“The next three days are a critical opportunity for our bid to demonstrate why we believe Doha 2030 would be a Gateway to a brighter future for Asian sport.
“Just as importantly, will be the opportunity for us to explain the magical elements we have planned; from an unprecedented Games experience, to legacy benefits that would begin from next year and run through and beyond 2030.”
Doha has planned what it describes as a sustainable no-build Games and promises to leave a legacy for other National Olympic Committees.
In a statement, a spokesperson wrote “with no permanent venues to be built, Doha 2030 has an unprecedented opportunity to focus its attention on providing a Gateway to legacy now for the OCA and Asian sport.”
“During the Evaluation Committee’s visit, Doha 2030 will explain how it plans to use the time and money saved from not having to build new infrastructure, to deliver NOC legacy programs that support them overcome current challenges caused by COVID-19.”
The OCA will choose the winner at a December 16 meeting in Muscat, Oman.
— Doha 2030 (@agdoha2030) November 10, 2020
Saudi Arabia has never hosted the Asian Games, but joins Doha in an intense race between neighboring regional rivals that have seen diplomatic relations deteriorate over recent years. Both nations have elevated their bids to national priorities.
The bids have also come under the microscope of human rights groups who describe intolerable conditions in both countries.
Despite these issues, Doha’s bid committee plans to “outline how Doha 2030 will ensure a celebration of Asia and its wonderful diversity, using the power of sport to unite the continent.”
The 2018 Asian Games were staged in Jakarta-Palembang, Indonesia and the next event will be held in Hangzhou, China in 2022. Japan will host Aichi-Nagoya 2026.