MONACO — Doha will host the 2019 athletics world championships, another sporting victory for the tiny Gulf state of Qatar. It already has the World Cup in 2022, and may also have ambitions for the biggest prize of them all, the Olympics.
Doha, the Qatari capital, won its bid to host the world championships in a secret IAAF vote on Tuesday at a Monte Carlo hotel after losing out to London three years ago.
This time, Doha beat an American bid from Eugene, Oregon, and Spanish city Barcelona in the vote by the IAAF’s 27-member ruling council.
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"We had a dream for organizing such an event for a long time," said Dahlan al Hamad, the president of Qatar’s athletics federation.
Doha received 12 votes in the first ballot, Eugene nine, and Barcelona six, eliminating the latter. Doha won 15-12 in the decisive second round, the IAAF said.
The oil-and-gas-rich country could be in line to pull off three of the globe’s biggest sports events in the space of five years if Doha also goes for and wins hosting rights for the 2024 Summer Olympics.
"A bid for the 2024 Olympics is something that everybody is keen about but our concentration is mainly to work with the IAAF and set up the world championship," Al Hamad said this week before the world championships vote.
The 2024 Olympics will be awarded in 2017, but the worlds would be a perfect dress rehearsal for Doha. It is the third biggest sports event after the Olympics and the World Cup in terms of countries represented, athletes taking part, and worldwide television audience, the IAAF says.
However, the event will clash with the Rugby World Cup in Japan, European club football, and the NFL, because organizers have scheduled it a month later to the end of September to avoid the worst of the country’s desert heat.
"I am sure that in Doha we will have a wonderful edition of the world championships," IAAF President Diack said. "I am convinced they are committed through sport to developing their country and their community, and they are doing the right things."
During its final presentation, Doha’s bid representatives challenged the IAAF to be bold and take the championships to a region it has never been to before — a message Qatar also used successfully in 2010 when it won its bid for the World Cup.
"Are you willing to expand the sport we love? Are you willing to inspire the younger generation?" Qatari high jumper Mutaz Essa Barshim asked the IAAF in Monaco.
Eugene was attempting to bring the worlds to the United States for the first time since they were established in 1983, and had backing from Olympic champions Allyson Felix and Ashton Eaton.
Barcelona wanted to revive the spirit from when it hosted the 1992 Olympics.
Instead, Qatar made history as the first Arabic country to host the outdoor worlds. Doha hosted the world indoors in 2010.
Beijing will host next year’s worlds, and London in 2017.