Qatar, 28th September – 6th October 2019
The 17th edition of the IAAF World Championships in Athletics will be hosted in Doha later this year. It becomes the first city in the Middle East to host an athletics premier showcase event after two other cities applied to organise the Championships in 2019; Barcelona, Spain and Eugene, USA.
Since being selected to host the event, Doha has been busy preparing itself for the plethora of people due to enter its borders over the next few years. Most notably the biggest action taken is the renovation of the Khalifa International Stadium; one of Qatar’s most iconic sporting venues and the infamous heart of sport in the country, and within Asia as a whole.
The stadium will not only be host to the World Athletics Championships in 2019, but will be the host the 2022 FIFA World Cup. As well as a state-of-the-art advanced air conditioning unit, the stadium capacity has increased to 48,000, thanks to the additional 12,000 seats added, ready for the 40,000 people expected for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
To build excitement for the event, and to celebrate its first time hosting the World Championships in Athletics, Doha has rolled out a number of nationwide competitions to encourage and engage in a bid to increase the nation’s sense of patriotism.
A public competition was held to design the IAAF World Athletics Heritage Plaque, and on 29th March 2019, Brazilian recreational runner, Fernando Silva was announced the winner. He wins a trip for two to the Championships as the prize.
The oval design of the plaque represents the ‘global’ sport of athletics and the gold colour chosen for the ring itself represents ‘excellence’. The 6 bright colours complementing the gold, stand for the ‘universality’ of athletics, as represented by its 6 continental areas and 6 core event groups (sprints, hurdles & relays; middle/long distance; combined events; jumping; throwing; ‘out of stadium – cross country, mountain, road, trial and ultra-running and race walking.)
On Qatar’s National Sports Day in February, an annual public holiday, the winning design of the mascot for the World Athletics Championships was unveiled. ‘Falah’, an athletic falcon sporting attire in the Qatari flag colours was the final result following a nationwide competition that saw 21 sketches submitted from Qatari residents. Young ambassadors aged 8-16 were invited to vote on the mascot sketches, where they narrowed the designs down to 8.
‘Falah’ was ultimately chosen to symbolise the pursuit of excellence, to demonstrate the flying into new horizons without boundaries, and to embody the attitude Doha has towards hosting the Championships. Doha is said to want to showcase the sport of Athletics to new audiences across the globe by engaging younger athletes and encouraging more fans to descend into Doha, as they connect people together through Falah to celebrate their first time hosting this monumental event.
Special invitees to the unveiling event; 490 children from a range of schools across Doha, celebrated the announcement by taking part in a series of sports related activities coordinated by the IAAF. These activities were implemented though the Qatar Athletics Federation along with Tsukuba University, who are part of the Tokyo 2020 legacy programme, Sports For Tomorrow.
Cellhire Chief Operating Officer, Tim Taylor, has been busy preparing for the event; by travelling to Doha to meet with the leading Qatari networks to discuss partnerships. These partnerships will be pivotal to Cellhire when looking to provide connectivity for the event, as the cost-effective, local solutions will save travellers on high data roaming costs and will increase greater network coverage in more areas. Ultimately, with 205 competing countries, 3,500 athletes, 10,000 expected international guests, 30,000 spectators and 2,000 personnel, Cellhire expects to be one of the main providers of mobile connectivity for those wanting to stay connected in Qatar.