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  • Qatar Confirms Doha 2020 Bid Leadership


    Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani (QOC)
    (ATR) Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, IOC member and president of the Qatar Olympic Committee, will chair the Doha 2020 Olympic bid and announces three key appointments to his team.

    Sheikh Saoud bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, secretary general of the QOC, and Shaikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, chairman of Qatari foundation Reach Out To Asia, are named vice presidents.

    Noora Ali Al-Mannai is the bid's chief executive. She previously worked for the Qatar Academy Al Khor, a private, non-profit coeducational school.

    "Our aim is to deliver a great Games, new opportunities for Olympic sports and a legacy strategy that will have a profound impact not just within Qatar, but right across the Middle East and beyond," said Sheikh Tamim in a statement issued Monday.

    “The exciting opportunity that lies before us is to demonstrate to the IOC that Doha as a potential host city offers something that is unique, spectacular and compelling for the whole Olympic Movement.

    "This is about sport, lifestyle, the potential for change and building a new understanding in the region and among the wider international community. I and my bid team will work tirelessly to deliver those goals as we hope to realise an historic moment for the IOC and the Middle East in September 2013.”

    The 2020 bid team is already showing a different complexion to the failed 2016 bid effort when Qatari businessman Hassan Ali Bin Ali chaired the bid and Sheikh Tamim had a lead role but was mainly involved in 2016 bid PR efforts on home soil.

    This time around, Sheikh Tamim has put himself forward to play a more prominent role as the Gulf state attempts to bring the Olympics to the Middle East for the first time. He is expected to be a regular attendee at bidding events worldwide in the build-up to the IOC vote in Buenos Aires on Sept. 7, 2013.

    A Qatar NOC spokesman tells Around the Rings that Sheikh Tamim, who is also president of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Supreme Committee, may attend the IOC's applicant cities seminar in Lausanne on Nov. 3-4.

    But as deputy emir he could have other business to attend to in Qatar. Sheikh Saoud and the new chief executive will definitely be part of the Doha delegation travelling to the Olympic capital.

    Doha launched its 2020 bid on Aug. 26 and the IOC confirmed it as one of the six applicant cities on Sept. 2. Baku, Istanbul, Madrid, Rome and Tokyo are the other cities vying for the Games.

    The IOC had earlier approved a request by Qatar to propose the staging of the 2020 Games in September-October, outside the traditional July-August Olympics window, to avoid the fierce desert heat.

    Doha's sports facilities and sporting experience will be under the spotlight later this week when the International Association of Athletics Federations arrives in the Qatari capital for a two-day inspection of Doha's 2017 world athletics bid.

    Sheikh Saoud is chairing the 2017 bid committee. The QOC president and other bid officials may also be involved in briefing IAAF inspectors on Wednesday and Thursday.

    They will highlight how Khalifa Stadium, proposed venue for the 2017 IAAF world championships, will be climate-controlled through solar energy to ensure the desert heat is not a factor for athletes and spectators.

    Their bid presentation will also include details of Athletics City, which will offer luxury apartments, five-star hotels, restaurants and entertainment facilities for the athletes and IAAF during the championships.

    The IAAF inspectors today began their two-day evaluation of the London 2017 bid for the athletics world championships with a visit to the 80,000-seat Olympic stadium to see the newly laid track.

    Reported by Mark Bisson

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