Doha, Qatar: IAAF World Athletics Championships Qatar 2019 Director General and Vice Chairman of the Local Organising Committee Dahlan Al Hamad said Doha Worlds would leave a lasting impact in the region and inspire the young generation to take up the sport.
The 10-day championships, held at the Khalifa International Stadium, was a resounding success with Sebastian Coe, President of the International Athletics Federation, hailing it as the best ever.
“Our legacy here is to make new generation, those kids, interested in sports. This is what we want, and we will keep promoting sports until we see we are really going in the right direction. We have to engage kids in sports and we feel athletics is the right sport to engage those people,” Dahlan said at a press conference at Khalifa International Stadium with Coe sitting next to him.
“We are really thrilled to partner with the IAAF to expand the horizon of athletics in the Middle East and the MENA region. It is a collective effort of our people and the government,” he added.
Dahlan said the feedback from the athletes and officials, who attended the championship, were positive as they enjoyed the Qatari hospitality and lauded the high-level organisation of one of the showpiece sporting event in the world.
“The championships witnessed many good performances including a world record. Athletes were happy to be in Doha and we hope they will leave Qatar with a lot of happy memories. This is really important for us because we believe that athletics has to be in this region. We believe that there are generations who are hungry for athletics,” he said.
“If we go back to 1997 when athletics was just about the national team, and now we can see the fans in athletics are really increasing. The objective of organising this championships was to expand the in the region. Also, we are happy because in Qatar, we have more than 100 communities, our duty is to make those communities celebrate and see their athletes,” added Dahlan.
“Filling stadiums is the challenge to everybody. This wasn’t the challenge in these world championships only, it is a challenge in every championships,” said Dahlan. “First two days were hectic but if you see the last three days, the stadium was filled because people started to appreciate the results of the athletes,”
After a sedate start, fans thronged the venue, with 42,180 people in attendance as Mutaz Barshim defended his high jump world title. The final day also witnessed a capacity crowd.
“We don’t say that we are perfect. There is not perfect in the world, everybody has shortcomings. There are many lessons (to be learnt) and we will review them after the championships,” he added.
Dahlan, who is also the President of Asian Athletics Association (AAA), was impressed with the performances of the athletes from the Asian continent. “I am happy that Asian countries are progressing. Things are going good. We have good cooperation with the IAAF and AAA, so this is something we want to enhance, for the time being, we have good results from Asian countries like China Qatar and Japan,” he noted.
Coe, meanwhile, noted that six championship records had been set, 43 countries had won medals, and athletes from 68 different nations had achieved at least one top-eight placing.
“For those who follow our sport closely, you will know that we rank our championships on the performances of the athletes,” Coe said. “It is how we, the athletes and the coaches measure our success.
“The world’s athletes have put on the best show in the history of the IAAF World Athletics Championships, according to the competition performance rankings which are used as an objective measure of the quality of international competition.
“These performances are incredible but credit must also go to the facilities and conditions provided by the host country. Doha has created conditions on the field of play and in the warm-up that are unsurpassed.
“We are proud of the fact we reach more countries than any other sport,” added Coe. “Just look at the breadth and depth – 43 countries on the medals table and 86 national records set. We want our athletes to experience different cultures and different conditions. It’s what makes our sport so accessible.”