Posted on August 09, 2017

Qatar has brought the world of athletics together to celebrate Doha’s hosting of the 2019 IAAF World Championships as the city prepares to receive the flag from London next week. Doha will be the next host of the world’s third largest sporting event following the conclusion of the London World Championships on Sunday 13th August, bringing the event to the Middle East for the first time in history.

Over 500 people attended a reception hosted by the Doha 2019 Organising Committee at London’s breath-taking Sky Garden with the city’s stunning skyline as a backdrop. Attendees included Lord Sebastian Coe, President of the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations), members of the IAAF, athletics Member Federations from around the world, sponsors and Organising Committees. Speaking on behalf of the Doha 2019 Organising Committee, Vice-President and Director General of Doha 2019 and Vice-President of the IAAF, Dahlan Al Hamad, said: “Hosting athletics flagship event is a natural next step on our historic sporting journey. We are committed to combining our passion for athletics, our experience and knowledge of hosting major athletics events, and our warm hospitality and rich culture – to organise a unique, memorable and highly successful World Championships.

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“Hosting the World Championships in the Middle East for the first time in history provides the opportunity to introduce athletics to new audiences and new markets, inspire new athletes and capture the attention of new fans. The whole of the Doha 2019 team is fully committed to embracing this unique opportunity - and we will be working hard over the next two years to ensure that we maximise the full potential of our region’s first ever World Championships.” Speaking further about the impact that the World Championships can have on the region, particularly with regards to female sport, Sheikha Asma Al Thani, Communications and Marketing Director of Doha 2019 and the Qatar Olympic Committee, said:

“It is our ambition that showcasing Arab women in athletics through the World Championships will help to inspire more young girls from across the region - not just to become future champions but to participate at any level – as athletes, coaches, officials or administrators. We want young girls to see that anything is possible and that they can achieve their dreams.  We hope to break down barriers and change perceptions of Arab women in sport – and to support the growth and development of women’s athletics - and women’s sport in general - across the Middle East.”

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Guests at the reception were able to sample Qatar’s warm hospitality, unique culture, and history and heritage of athletics through Arabic calligraphy workshops, a photo exhibition, a falcon demonstration, henna painting and more.

The reception took place ahead of the evening session of day four of competition of the London 2017 World Championships. Team Qatar’s athletes have had a successful start to the World Championships with Abdallaleh Haroun qualifying for Tuesday night’s 400m semi-finals and Abderrahman Samba qualifying for Wednesday night’s 400m hurdles semi-final. Later in the week, Olympic silver and bronze medallist, Mutaz Barshim, double World Junior Champion, Ashraf Elseify and rising star in the javelin Ahmed Bedeir will be in action. The flag handover from London to Doha will take place with a ceremony in the London 2017 stadium following the final session of athletics on Sunday 13th August.

You can follow Team Qatar’s progress in the IAAF World Championships and send your messages of support on the QOC’s social media channels under the hashtag #YallaQatar.