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Will Doha be ready for the Asian Games?

Qatar: Saturday, May 20 - 2006 @ 13:46

In less than 200 days Doha residents will witness the final transformation of the city into an international sporting haven and the final sprint to the finish will all have been worth it. Doha is witnessing a sense of committed urgency. There is purposeful activity with one clear objective: to stage the finest Asian Games ever.

Staging the 15th Asian Games successfully requires a huge organisational effort. Sporting venues, four new hotels, an airport extension, general infrastructure, transport planning and other logistical considerations are on track and there is a growing excitement in the lead-up to the Games.

Doha Asian Games Organising Committee is upbeat about the prospects at organising the finest sporting spectacle in the history of Asian Games. Moreover, the Games will deliver a lasting social, environmental and economic legacy not just for Qatar but the whole Middle East region.

Cultural value

Children are learning about not just the 15th Asian Games in schools, but about other Asian cultures through various programmes DAGOC has initiated. Over hundred Ministry of Education schools were visited by DAGOC officials and the volunteers programme during the period from September 2005 until April 2006 and resulted in a heightened sense of interest in the Games within the scholastic community.

Over the course of the next month, DAGOC will visit government ministries, social clubs and community based associations. The visits are part of DAGOC’s overall campaign to create a sustained awareness for the Games and build a sense of pride in the community to be part of this global celebration of sporting spirit.

Major multinational companies have signed on as sponsors, including Samsung, Nestle Waters, Tissot, Pocari Sweat, Qatar Airways, Q-Tel and Qatar National Bank. More major names are expected to be announced soon. Qatar Airways will be using the next six months to promote its involvement in the Games as the official national carrier.

National purpose

The city has coloured itself festive bright, with Doha 2006 mascot Orry across tall buildings and colourful Games’ banners fluttering on lighting poles. The Doha International Airport is awash with gigantic Games signs, children and families are posing for pictures with life-size Orrys in shopping malls and the media is full of announcements regarding the Games.

Almost all the stadia are ready or nearing completion and roads are being straightened up or constructed afresh. Some question whether Doha will be ready in time for the Games but national mobilisation on this scale is unlikely to fall far short of delivery.

This skepticism is reminiscent of those who questioned whether Dubai would fall flat before staging the IMF/World Bank annual conference in 2003. It proved completely unfounded and the new hotels built for the ocassion have been full ever since.

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Saturday, May 20- 2006 @ 13:46 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.

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