The local sports calendar is poised to become much busier over the coming year with an average of more than seven major events per month, a spokesperson from Qatar’s Olympics Committee (QOC) has said.
The packed agenda is part of a push by local officials to position Qatar as a global sporting hub and develop a stronger athletic culture ahead of the 2022 World Cup.
Qatar is expected to host 89 local, regional and international sporting events between this month and March 2016 – up from 84 a year earlier, the QOC spokesperson said.
At the same time, the number of international athletic events hosted by Qatar is set to climb to 55 – up from 43 events last year, he said.
In a statement to Doha News, the spokesperson added:
“Hosting world-class sports events in Qatar helps to inspire more young people at a grassroots level, develop more elite athletes, empower more females and inspire greater community participation.”
Some of the most high-profile events coming to Qatar include the AIBA World Boxing Championship for Men – the first time the event has come to the region.
The AIBA World Boxing Championship will be held at Al Sadd Sports Club from Oct. 5 to 18 this year.
A smaller event, the Doha International Boxing Tournament, will be held next month and feature competitors from 11 countries including Tunisia, Morocco, India, Pakistan, Australia, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Australia, Philippines, Nepal and Saudi Arabia.
The May tournament will be good practice for officials organizing the event’s logistics ahead of the the World Championship in October, said Youseff Kazem, the head of the Qatar Boxing Federation, according to Qatar Olympic’s Committee website.
“(It) will revitalize the boxing sport to attract the public, adolescents and youth, as we find it very difficult to find talent (here),” he said.
Separately, Qatar will also host the International Paralympic Committee Athletics World Championship this year.
“It is our ambition to increase opportunities for people with a disability to participate in sport and to use the World Championships to showcase the incredible achievements of Paralympic athletes,” said Sheikh Saoud Bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, QOC secretary-general, in an online statement.
The IPC Athletics World Championship will be held at Qatar Sports Club from Oct. 22 to 31.
Other sporting events
Other tournaments coming to Qatar include bowling, sailing, ice skating and weightlifting events. A full calendar can be found on the QOC website.
“Many of the World Championship events that QOC have hosted or will be hosting have come to the Middle East for the first time in their history, which introduces new fans, new athletes, new markets and new sponsors to the sport,” the spokesperson said.
There’s also the Asian Senior Wrestling Championship at Aspire Zone from May 4 to 11, as well as the first Asian Youth Athletics Championship from May 8 to 11.
The events come on the heels of several successful tournaments hosted by Qatar that have wrapped up in recent months such as the FINA World Cup Swimming Championship, the Qatar Total Open and the Men’s Handball World Championship.
Local handball organizers built several brand-new stadiums for the tournament – which helped give a boost to many of Qatar’s hotels – and generated more buzz around the event with last-minute announcements of concerts by high-profile stars such as Pharrell Williams, Gwen Stefani, Kylie Minogue and Taio Cruz.