VELODREAM!

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, CYCLING , DSP MAGAZINE

QATAR may soon have a velodrome of its own, a modular one, inside the state-of-the-art Losail Multipurpose Hall.

The Qatar Cycling Federation (QCF), which has been longing for a velodrome for years, considers the modular facility as a financially more viable option and submitted a proposal to the Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC). It has been reliably learnt that the governing body is also enthused about the idea.

“We’re confident that it’ll work. The QOC is interested in the project,” a source told Doha Stadium Plus on condition of anonymity.

The Losail facility, which was the main venue of Men’s Handball World Championship in January, 2015, has been rarely used since then. The air-conditioned structure has the right size to build a velodrome inside. The QCF has an office close to the stadium as most of the outdoor activities happen near the Losail International Circuit.

If a velodrome is made, it would prevent the Losail hall from becoming a white elephant and also help the QCF train more youngsters throughout the year. All these are prompting the QOC to go ahead with the plan.

Qatar’s national coach Tareq Esmaili felt a velodrome would attract more fresh talents to the sport.

“Hot weather prevails in Qatar for more than half of the year and it’s sometimes difficult to persuade young riders to join the sport. More kids will start coming in if they’ve the possibility to train and compete indoors. We’ve some really talented riders for indoor events and there’s tremendous potential for growth,” said Tareq.

It will also be a big relief for the Qatari cyclists who have to travel to the UAE regularly to compete in indoor events.

“Currently, all our indoor training camps are organised at the Zayed Velodrome in Sharjah. Having a velodrome in Qatar will also encourage more girls to take up the sport. We need to act fast because cyclists from the UAE are making rapid progress by making use of the their facility. I’m confident that we can catch up with them provided we’ve a velodrome. I hope it’ll be ready in the near future,” said Tareq.

Qatar had built a temporary velodrome inside the ASPIRE Academy for the 2006 Doha Asian Games. DSP

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