x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Dubai considers Olympic bid

A feasibility study to examine the possibility of Dubai hosting the 2020 Olympic Games is revealed.

The UAE flag is raised during a ceremony at the Olympic Village, in Beijing during last year's Games.
The UAE flag is raised during a ceremony at the Olympic Village, in Beijing during last year's Games.

Dubai may be on the starting line in the race to host the 2020 Olympic Games. If any move is successful, it will be the first time the Games have been held in the Middle East and the event will see the world's leading athletes potentially competing in sweltering conditions. A working group has been set up to examine the possibility of Dubai hosting the Games in 2020, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, said on Sunday. Sheikh Mohammed said that, in the same year, Dubai also hoped to host a World Expo, an event showcasing the latest advances in science and industry that takes place every five years. The working group, made up of government and private sector representatives and led by the Falcon and Associates company, which was set up to help Dubai attract investment, will carry out a feasibility study before a decision is taken over launching formal bids to the International Olympic Committee and the Bureau of International Expositions.

"We need to engage our community in a discussion about our vision and everyone's role in our future," said Sheikh Mohammed. "For this we need a clear, common goal that highlights shared universal human values. "The Dubai 2020 initiative will look at how we can shape our environment and society for future generations. "It will address, in an integrated way, the building blocks that underpin social and economic progress - sport, education, culture, business, science, technology, health and the environment. These two global events - the Olympic Games and World Expo - give us a sense of common purpose and play to our strengths." Bringing the Olympics and the World Expo, neither of which have ever been held in the Middle East, together in one place would be a "unique proposition", according to the Government news agency WAM. The Olympics will next be held in London in 2012 and the World Expo will take place in Shanghai next year. The two events coincide in the same year every 20 years. "Dubai is already home to people from different nationalities and cultures who live in friendship and peace," said Sheikh Mohammed. "And I believe we can deepen this respect and mutual understanding if we work together to achieve something spectacular and meaningful." Dubai's scorching summer climate could present one of the greatest challenges to Games organisers. Temperatures can soar above 40º Celsius in July and August, dropping to highs of around 39C and 35C in September and October respectively. Qatar made a bid to host the 2016 Olympics but did not make it on to the shortlist of candidate cities. Qatar had hoped to hold the Games in October to take advantage of slightly cooler weather, but that clashed with established deals for televised sport coverage. Alexander McNabb, a Dubai-based marketing expert, said a Dubai Olympic bid would bring the emirate nothing but benefits. "It's an interesting and smart move." he said. "It's great for the brand because it says Dubai isn't sulking but is aiming for the sky. It sends a very clear message of confidence. "Does Dubai have the will to put the facilities together and actually hold the event? Is will alone enough? I think that the further down the line you take the bid the greater the benefits accrued." Aside from the Olympics and the World Expo, Dubai 2020 will focus on a number of sectors within the emirate and the wider UAE around the common goal of furthering social and economic progress, WAM reported. tspender@thenational.ae