x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

A change of dates likely in Qatar's 2020 Olympic bid

A source with the IOC says Qatar allowed to bid outside of the conventional July / August window to avoid the heat factor in their proposal.

DAEGU, South Korea // Olympic chiefs yesterday gave Qatar the green light to bid for a 2020 Summer Olympics in Doha by allowing a shift in dates to later in the year, avoiding the worst of the desert summer heat.

An International Olympic Committee (IOC) source told Reuters that the executive board had considered Qatar's request, and allowed a bid with such dates to be submitted.

The source said the date approval with the Games to be held in the September/October window merely meant that it would not be "a deal breaker", and that any Qatar bid would still have to solve issues regarding scheduling and the health of athletes and visitors, even during those dates.

Jacques Rogge, the IOC president, earlier had told reporters in Daegu that he would decide after discussing the matter with his executive board.

Qatar's bid for the 2016 Olympics, eventually won by Rio de Janeiro, foundered on its insistence on holding that Games in October.

The deadline for submitting a bid for the 2020 Olympics is September 1. The winning bid will be announced after the IOC membership votes in September 2013.

So far, Rome, Madrid, Istanbul and Tokyo have declared their intention to bid. Qatar is expected to join them after the nod from the IOC.

Temperatures in Doha average more than 38°C from May to September before cooling a bit.

Qatar will host the 2022 football World Cup and is committed to investing more than US$20 billion (Dh73.46bn) in the development of tourism infrastructure over the next 11 years, the head of its tourism authority said this week.

There is precedent for a city shifting the Summer Games outside the traditional July/August window; in 2000 the Sydney Olympics were held from September 15 to October 1.