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OLYMPICS

After scrapping plans to bid on hosting the 2024 Summer Olympics, Qatar officials have started planning on bringing the Olympics to the Middle East for the first time in 2028.

Speaking at a sports conference, Thani al-Kuwari, secretary-general of the Qatar Olympic Committee, said the country would unquestionably bid on a future tournament.

“The vision and the target is to host one of the Olympics, one day…Maybe 2028.” Said Al Kuwairi to AFP

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Al-Kuwari did not delve on why Qatar decided not to submit a bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics, except to say officials wanted to ensure any future attempts were “strong in every aspect.”

Qatar formally applied to host the 2016 and 2020 Olympics, but ran into opposition over the country’s intense summer heat.

Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani – who, in 2012, was the country’s heir apparent and chairman of the Qatar Olympic Committee – attempted to deflect the issue by proposing to hold the games in October.

If Qatar had won hosting rights, Olympic officials had also been willing to consider running all outdoor events before 10am or after 6pm to avoid the hottest part of the day.

Since its unsuccessful Olympic bids, Qatar has hosted a slew of major international sporting events like, last year’s Men’s Handball World Championship, the AIBA World Boxing Championships and the International Paralympics Committee Athletics World Championships.

And late last month, Doha was named the host city for the 2023 FINA World Championships and FINA World Masters Championships, which will mark the first time the swimming and aquatic event takes place in the Middle East. Qatar hosted the FINA World Swimming Championships in 2014 and 2013.

The country’s biggest hosting challenge will be the World Cup in 2022.

The bidding process for the 2028 Olympics is expected to start in 2019. Association of National Olympic Committees President Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah said in a statement last week: “Over the past few years, Doha has showcased its impressive credentials in hosting major sporting events and the Qatari capital offers the perfect environment for the world’s NOCs to unite together in the spirit of sport.”

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