365 days to go until the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019, hosts Qatar are ready to welcome the world of athletics and stage the biggest sporting event in the nation and region’s history. Organisers unveiled the completed stadium, showcased its state-of-the-art sustainable cooling system and revealed ticket options that will allow fans to watch the action in new ways.
For four days, the organising committee has taken the IAAF through their detailed plans and played host to team leaders and coaches from 30 nations as they begin preparations for their athletes and teams to complete in the 17th IAAF World Athletics Championships.
To mark the one-year countdown, the doors were opened to the upgraded Khalifa International Stadium in Aspire Zone for special guests and media, including Qatar’s world-class 400m hurdler and Asian Games champion Abderrahman Samba and promising sprint talent Mariam Farid, along with officials and sponsors.
All attendees enjoyed a first-hand experience of the unique pink track and weather conditions the innovative cooling system will offer athletes and fans. Track temperatures were set to a pleasant 24-26C courtesy of the revolutionary in-stadium air-conditioning technology, which will guarantee optimal conditions for athletes and fans alike while also being sustainable.
The Global Sustainability Assessment System (GSAS) certified stadium, which will also host 2022 FIFA World Cup matches, is ready to play host to the 2019 Asian Athletics Championships in April 2019, the official test event for the IAAF World Athletics Championships later in the year.
The ticketing programme was also unveiled and will offer avid athletics fans an array of options which allow them to follow their champion, sit in traditional Arab cushioned Majlis seating or choose finish line seats. Tickets also provide those new to athletics taster options priced at 14 EURO / 60 QAR. Family and group discounts are also available for those looking to purchase bulk tickets. Fans locally and globally should now register their interest in tickets via iaafworldathleticschamps.com/doha2019/tickets to ensure they receive information, alerts and reminders for when tickets go on sale in November.
Speaking on the finish line of the athletics track at Khalifa International Stadium, Vice President and Director General of the IAAF World Athletics Championships Local Organising Committee and Vice President of the IAAF, Dahlan Al Hamad, said:
“Today is a very important day in our readiness preparations. Ready to be gracious hosts. Ready to connect the world of athletics. Ready to inspire a new generation and ready to welcome athletes and fans from all corners of the world.
“Qatar is a young and ambitious nation. We hope that seeing is believing and as you can see today we are ready to deliver upon our promises, from our stadium to our airport, our infrastructure to accommodation and our world-famous hospitality. Everything is in place including a growing excitement and energy among the local community. In hosting the first ever IAAF World Athletics Championships in the Middle East, we have a shared vision and commitment in partnering with the IAAF, to grow participation of this wonderful sport across Qatar, the region and the world.
“To have such an ambition requires innovative, creative and bold thinking. That is why an exciting new schedule exists with new formats. That’s why this stadium has cooling technology and why we want our young athletes and our local community to experience it live for themselves. That’s why we will introduce a midnight marathon. All these developments take imagination but stem from a single goal of enhancing athletics worldwide.”
In addition to these creative and exciting developments already confirmed, the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 aims to reach new heights and place itself in IAAF history. An enhanced competition schedule, a first-ever midnight marathon along Doha’s beautiful corniche and a first 4x400m mixed relay, have all been announced to maximise fan entertainment and global reach.
Commenting on one year to go, IAAF President Sebastian Coe said:
“Qatar has been hosting official IAAF events for over 21 years and in the organising committee we have a trusted partner who is committed to delivering a World Athletics Championships which makes a real difference to the world of athletics.
"With a year to go it is important the foundations are in place, so the final year can be spent testing facilities, systems and services. This is where we are now and there is a clear plan for testing.
"The fact that this is our first championship in the Middle East is hugely exciting. It means we can and should do things differently and provides an opportunity to reconsider what is possible in terms of new formats to appeal to spectators in the stadium or viewers around the world. We are encouraged by what we have seen over this last week and look forward to working with athletes, member federations and partners to deliver an outstanding World Athletics Championships one year from today.”
Access is a key focus for all involved especially fans travelling to Qatar with direct flights from more than 110 destinations. Once in Qatar, the stadium is located only 15 minutes from Doha’s downtown area of West Bay and sits in the middle of the world-renowned sporting centre Aspire Zone.
Someone familiar with Aspire Zone is Team Qatar’s own Abderrahman Samba. Speaking after experiencing the track and conditions, he said:
“My heart is already racing, and the adrenaline is pumping just by standing on the track. To compete in a stadium of this significance in front of my family and nation will be amongst the greatest moments of my career. I’m also excited to show my fellow athletes from all corners of the world what we can offer in not only world-class hospitality and facilities, but also the talent we have coming through the ranks. In turn, the world’s best will help myself and Team Qatar athletes inspire the next generation to take to the track for the first time - it will be a defining moment for all Team Qatar athletes.”
By committing to connect the world of athletics, Doha is determined to further accelerate the growth of women’s athletics across the region by changing perceptions. The logo for the championships was also revealed for the first time at the event, and is the creation of a local, all-female branding team. The logo hopes to capture the attention of young people so that they are motivated to choose athletics.
Commenting on the opportunity for women, Sheikha Asma Al Thani, Director of Marketing and Communications for IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 added:
“Looking around, it is easy to see that a lot has been built. But at the same time a lot of barriers and perceptions of Arab women in sport need changing. Definite progress has been made with new role models emerging all the time, but these invisible barriers still exist. Every woman who participates in the first IAAF World Athletics Championship hosted in the Middle East can inspire change and encourage more girls to participate in sport at any level or consider a career trackside in branding, marketing or more. Real change will only be possible by ensuring as many young girls are in the stadium as boys to witness the performances of world champion athletes through their own eyes. And as an organising committee we will be doing all we can to make that happen.”