In my very first blog post I talked about Qatar winning the bid to hold the World Cup in 2022. In the blog I covered not only the current controversy of Mohammad bin Hammam paying off members of FIFA for the bid, but also touched on why this event would be beneficial to the Middle East. Holding large sporting events such as the World Cup brings tourism to the region and shines a positive spotlight on a conflict ridden Middle East.
Another positive spotlight is planned to be shown on the Middle East even before the World Cup in 2022. The capital city of Qatar, Doha, has recently won the bid to hold the World Athletics Championships in 2019. Doha won this bid over large cities such as Barcelona and the United States nominee, Eugene, Oregon.
The IAFF is the federation behind the World Championship of Athletics. In the beginning the IAFF would use the Olympics as their World Championships but broke off and started their own games in 1983. In recent years the games have been growing in popularity. Unlike the Olympics, the World Championship of Athletics is held every two years. Also unlike the Olympics, the games feature only track events, such as running, javelin, shot put and pole vault.
Like the Qatari World Cup in 2022 there were many skeptics when the World Championship of Athletics was given to Qatar for 2019. Many people played on how current laborers were being treated in the country. I touched on this in my first blog as well. Qatar has said that reform has been put into place for the safety of its workers.
Overall, the Middle East does not have a very welcoming aspect to the region that people would want to visit. Using sports and culture, I think that it can maybe flip the switch that is needed to bring people over to the region.