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Doha gets ready for 2019 IAAF World Championships

The renovated athletics track at the Khalifa International Stadium will host the 2019 World Championships

Bengaluru/Doha, September 25: Doha has stepped its preparations for the 2019 International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships as the Qatari capital is set to become the first city in the Middle East to host athletics' premier showcase event.

The 2019 IAAF World Championships will be held at the athletics track of the recently renovated Khalifa International Stadium in Doha from September 27 to October 6.

A large team of IAAF event and technical experts conduced an extensive site visit with the Doha 2019 Local Organising Committee, part of the process of co-ordination that precedes every major championships.

IAAF Vice President Dahlan Al Hamad, who is also the Vice-Chairman and Director-General of the Local Organising Committee, said that with little more than one year to go for the opening day of the championships, he was confident that Doha would be ready to host the athletes of the world.

"Our airport and hotels are ready, our stadium is ready, our ticket programme and brand will be revealed when we celebrate One Year to Go on Thursday (September 27),'' he said.

"All the big pieces are in place. Our task over the next year is to link all the pieces together as we prepare to stage an innovative and exciting event that will engage athletics fans both near and far."

The highlight of the visit was the demonstration of the world-first air-conditioning system that will keep Khalifa International Stadium at a comfortable temperature for athletes, officials and fans, protecting all from Qatar's desert climate.

IAAF Council member Geoff Gardner, who led the federation's team, said everyone was impressed by the effectiveness of the stadium cooling system.

"I don't know if the rest of the world really believed this was possible but it's an amazing system and it shows that our championships can be conducted here in a good environment for the athletes,'' he said.

National team leaders from some 30 countries have now arrived in Doha to conduct their own inspection of competition and training venues, hotels and logistical plans.

On Thursday, the LOC will release details of the ticketing programme and launch the event logo and branding to celebrate One Year to Go to the 2019 IAAF World Championships.

There will be a series of milestones for the Doha organisers over the coming months, including a test of the lighting for the marathon course in October, the World Broadcasters Meeting and Press Agencies Meeting in November, the Asian Athletics Championships next April, which will serve as a full test event for the championships as they will be held at the Khalifa International Stadium, and the annual IAAF Diamond League meeting in May.

Qatar has an extensive history as a host of international athletics events, from the first-ever IAAF Grand Prix in 1997 to the Doha Diamond League over the last nine years, and the 2010 IAAF World Indoor Championships.

(With inputs from IAAF media).

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    Story first published: Tuesday, September 25, 2018, 12:24 [IST]
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