London 2012 chief Seb Coe gives boost for Doha's Olympic hopes
AJU GEORGE CHRIS / Doha Stadium Plus
The Qatari capital’s hopes of hosting the Olympic Games received a big boost from Lord Sebastian Coe, the Chairman of the 2012 London Olympic Games Organising Committee.
The Briton, who was in Doha on a private visit, said countries like Qatar, which invest much time and energy into sport, could not be ignored.
“We can’t sit any longer saying that countries which are prepared to invest in sport, both spiritually and in terms of infrastructure, are in some way banned or we make it impossible for them to deliver high-quality sporting events. We should be encouraging them,” he told Doha Stadium Plus in an exclusive chat.
“If you’re going to build a global capacity in sport, you’re going to confront challenges. Some of them will be climatic, political or social. The great thing about sport is that it always manages to be a bridgehead to change.
“My view is that we’ll probably need to have a global conversation at some stage, across sport, about the calendar and the ability of some countries to stage sports events when it’s climatically beneficial for the competitors. That’s one of the challenges of building a global capacity for sport,” he told Doha Stadium Plus.
Doha bid for both the ’16 and ’20 events, but failed to make it past the initial stages. But Coe felt perceptions were fast changing.
“If we sat here 20 years ago and said Rio would host the Olympic Games or South Africa the 2010 FIFA World Cup, not many would’ve believed it. But that’s how the world works. The landscape for bids and delivery of sport around the world has changed. And that’s a good thing.
“It gives more young people, from around the world, who haven’t been touched by the magic of big sporting events, a chance to experience it and take up sport. Wherever we’re, be in London or New York or Melbourneor Dhaka, it’s important to excite more young people to take up active sports,” he said.
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