Qatar sports officials leveraged an international sport stage to launch their push to host a 2030 Asian Games in Doha.
With the backdrop of the World Athletics Championships being held in the capital this week at Khalifa International Stadium, the Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) announced plans for a bid during the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) Executive Board meeting on Saturday.
“This is the start of a new, exciting chapter in Qatar’s sports journey,” QOC Secretary General Jassim Rashid al-Buenain told OCA Executive Board members on plans to host the Asian Games and make Doha the world capital of sports events.
“Regarding major sports events, the Asian Games in Doha in 2006 was a big success with the participation of all 45 National Olympic Committees of the OCA,” al-Buenain said.
“Almost 10,000 athletes took part in 424 events in 39 sports. Now we are intending to host the 2030 Asian Games.”
Doha hosted successfully in 2006, paving the way for a journey that will see the nation of only 2.6 million people host the FIFA World Cup in 2022.
The FIFA bid, awarded in 2010, has been mired in controversy with accusations of bribery and corruption at the forefront.
Doha also bid unsuccessfully for consecutive Olympic Games in 2016 and 2020 but failed to make the International Olympic Committee (IOC) shortlist each time amid criticism that the Games would have to be held outside the mandated months of July and August in order to contend with the hot climate in Qatar.
The World Athletics Championship this week are also being held late in the season due to heat concerns, and the marathon was run at midnight in order to give athletes the best competition conditions. The event is being criticized for low spectator turnout.
Doha is also set to host the inaugural World Beach Games from October 12-16 this year.
But according to one QOC official, the Asian Games bid is not yet finalized. A spokesperson told Reuters “Qatar is thinking about it, seriously thinking about it.”
“Our people are ready and thinking about it but nothing has officially happened yet.”
A decision to bid could be made at the next IOC Session scheduled ahead of the Youth Olympic Games in Lausanne, Switzerland in January.
Tashkent in Uzbekistan is in the running for the 2030 Games, but the Capital was awarded the 2025 Asian Youth Games at the same Executive Board meeting Saturday. OCA officials hinted that other countries have also expressed interest.