Qatar could host Summer Olympics: Coe

DOHA • The head of world athletics, Sebastian Coe, refused on Thursday to rule out a summer Olympics being held in the desert state of Qatar.

Speaking at a press conference in the capital Doha, he said athletics aspired to be a global sport.

"We have consistently turned up to conferences to talk about globalisation and using sport to impact and imprint on the lives of young people," the Briton said.

"And we have to make sure, where possible, giving those countries that want to stage these events to do exactly what we have been, for the last 30 or 40 years, encouraging them to do."

Asked about concerns over Doha's climate - where temperatures can reach 50 deg C in the summer - Coe said there were other considerations to take into account before choosing a host city. They include commercial concerns and the quality of infrastructure.

In February, a senior official of Qatar's Olympics Committee (QOC) said that his country had a "vision and target" of hosting a Summer Games.

QOC secretary-general Thani Al-Kuwari said Qatar would undoubtedly bid to host an Olympics. Although it had ruled itself out for 2024, the country could bid for the 2028 Games.

"The vision and the target is to host one of the Olympics, one day," he said.

Qatar had previously bid unsuccessfully for the 2016 and 2020 Games but remains undaunted.

It has already been chosen to host the world athletics championships in 2019 as well as the football World Cup in 2022 and the 2023 Fina world swimming championships.

Since the beginning of last year, Qatar has also hosted a world handball championships and the para athletics world championships.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 07, 2016, with the headline 'Qatar could host Summer Olympics: Coe'. Print Edition | Subscribe