Doha, Qatar: Qatar Athletics Federation President Thani Abdulrahman Al Kuwari welcomed the cream of world athletics competing in Friday’s Doha Diamond League to the Khalifa International Stadium, the state-of-the-art venue for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
The Khalifa International Stadium will also host the IAAF World Championships from September 27 to October 6 and Al Kuwari said Qatar athletics Federation has double reason to celebrate.
“With ten years of history already written in the track and field event in the city and five more years to come at least, this year Qatar celebrates athletics at its best,” said Al Kuwari, talking at the Pre-event press conference.
“Qatar Athletics Federation has double reason to celebrate. The completion of 10 years of Doha Diamond League and the completion of a new home of Qatar athletics, the Khalifa International Stadium.
“It’s a privilege and honour to welcome the world’s best athletes to Khalifa Stadium which will also host the World Championship,” said Al Kuwari.
International Association of Athletics Federations President Sebastian Co, three-time world shot put champion Tom Walsh of New Zealand, world pole vault champion Sam Kendricks, Britain’s triple European sprint champion Dina Asher-Smith Olympic, 100m hurdles Olympic champion Brianna Rollins-McNeal and Olympic long jump champion Tianna Bartoletta also joined Al Kuwari at the press conference.
Coe said Diamond League plays a big role in helping fans absorb the sport of athletics and the new format which will come into being in 2020 will only boost the profile.
“The IAAF Diamond League is the way millions of sports fans engage with athletics on a top level,” said Coe adding that it was important for the sport to get new fans.
“We will never be able to satisfy everybody, but we have a new format for Diamond League.
“We have done our best to listen to what markets have been telling us, what the athletes have been saying what the meeting directors have been saying, the broadcasters, the sponsors and the fans have been saying . The new format would be faster pacier, the broadcasters have told us we need to contract the meet time a bit.”
The future is strong. We will have the format as we know this year under slightly tougher and stricter criteria.
And we can look forward to an extraordinary set of events in the lead up to the World Championships in September,” said Coe.