When the Local Organising Committee (LOC) chief Dahlan Al Hamad said Qatar was ready to stage a memorable Asian Athletics Championships, he meant it.
The mega event that concluded yesterday after four days of thrilling action, turned out to be a real treat for athletes of the world’s biggest continent, as they competed at the Doha’s Khalifa International Stadium fitted with the revolutionary cooling system.
Dahlan, also the President of Asian Athletics Association, handed the flag of 2021 championships to Chinese officials during the closing ceremony, which was also attended by Qatar Olympic Committee President H E Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani.
The Doha edition was one of the most interesting events of the continental competition, which can be gauged by the fact that around a dozen of championship records were broken, while the track and field stars also achieved several world leading times, national records and personal best marks in optimum conditions – both in the morning and evening sessions.
Around 700 elite athletes from 44 nations took part in the event, battling for 186 medals, which were at stake from 21 men’s, 21 women’s, and a mixed relay event.
The Asian Athletics Championships served as the test event for Middle East’s first IAAF World Championships, which will be held at the same venue from September 28 to October 6.
Around 3,500 athletes from 200 nations and more than 10, 000 international guests are expected to be in the Qatari capital for the global showpiece event, and the Gulf state is ready to host them.
The Asian stars were full of praise for the arrangements and were impressed with start-of-the-art Khalifa Stadium.
Iran’s discus throw winner Ehsan Hadadi gave thumbs up to the cooling system, which was tested for the first time in athletics.
“Khalifa Stadium is cool with the cooling technology,” he said.
“My next target is to come back to Doha and win a gold medal at World Championships here before heading for next year’s Olympics,” said Hadadi.
China’s Lyu Huihui, who won women’s javelin throw gold, was itching to return to Doha for the IAAF Worlds after her Asian Championships experience.
“It’s a marvellous stadium. I believe, after winning a gold and silver at Worlds, I am ready to win gold at Doha Worlds,” said Huihui.
Bahrain’s John Kibet Koech, who won the gruelling 3,000 steeplechase final, also vowed to come back to Doha to face challenge from world’s best athletes.
“I had a good time in Doha and I’ll be back for the World Championships to face the Kenyans, who happen to be my partners,” said Koech.
Rising Filipino star Ernest Obeina, who pulled off a spectacular pole vault victory, extended his stay for the Doha Diamond League, which will be held at the same venue on May 3.
“It’s was really a good experience and winning here at the Asian Championships is amazing. I am happy that I have matched the qualifying standards for the World Championships,” he said.Courtesy:The Peninsula