x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

An Olympian effort

Holding Olympic Games in the Muslim world? There's no reason why not, and Dubai would be a fine site.

As London 2012 has just demonstrated, the Olympic Games is an event that brings the whole world together. Yet, while the Games have been hosted by many great cities, they have never been held in a Muslim country nor in the Middle East.

That is reason enough to celebrate the news that Dubai is preparing a bid to host the 2024 Summer Games - and good reason to believe that it will be among the front-runners for the honour.

Dubai has certainly demonstrated a "can do" attitude when it comes to creating infrastructure, accommodating tourists and hosting large-scale events. And, with the growth of Emirates and Etihad airlines, the UAE is already a major international hub.

But there is a long process ahead. A comprehensive bid must be presented to the International Olympics Committee by 2015, before a final decision is made in 2017. Between now and then, there will be intensive and aggressive lobbying by all contenders, believed to already include Paris, Berlin, Rome, Los Angeles and Doha.

This is a proposal that deserves enthusiastic support. A successful Olympics would be a credit to the UAE, and to the region.