2017 bid visits conclude

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The IAAF Evaluation Commission for the 2017 IAAF World Athletics Championships, led by senior vice president Bob Hersh, has completed two day visits of both London and Doha, which are bidding for the right to host the 2017 edition of the IAAF's most important competition.

At a press briefing to conclude the visit to London on 4 October 2011 Hersh said: On behalf of my team, I would like to underline that we have all been very impressed by the passion and commitment of the UK Athletics team and the technical expertise evidenced in the presentation that was made to us yesterday. It is also very heartening to see that the commitment of our IAAF Member Federation to hosting the 2017 World Championships is fully supported by the British government and the City of London. It was extremely helpful to have the opportunity to meet with Lord Sebastian Coe, Hugh Robertson, Boris Johnson and Baroness Margaret Ford and to receive strong guarantees that a track will remain in the Olympic Stadium after 2012, Hersh added. It was a real pleasure to visit the Olympic Stadium again and to see that it is now marked up for athletics. There is no doubt that Great Britain has a strong athletics culture and passionate fans; this is a positive element of this bid. I am also very happy to note the creation of an Athletes Commission, led by former Olympic champion Denise Lewis. We are pleased to see that the London team have given athletes a key role in their bid for our most important competition. To mark the arrival in London of the IAAF Evaluation Commission for the 2017 IAAF World Championships, top British athlete Jessica Ennis was unveiled as an official ambassador for Londons bid via a giant projection on to Londons iconic landmark, Tower Bridge. The visit by the Commission, chaired by Hersh, was a crucial step in the bidding process for London to secure the Athletics World Championships in 2017. The bid committee, which includes leading figures from UK Athletics, UK Sport, the British government, the London Mayors office and London and Partners, presented the technical bid for the Championships. These covered Londons general programme and plans for technical organisation, transport, security, medical facilities, marketing and communications. The Commission then visited the Olympic Stadium in London, as well as a number of hotels and other venues. Ed Warner, the chairman of UK Athletics said: Our bid has the wholehearted support and involvement of the Government and the Mayor of London. We have the Olympic Stadium, the passionate fans who will pack each and every session of a World Championships and the commercial track record to deliver a sustainable long term legacy for our sport on a global level. We have one clear objective – to have one of the worlds greatest sporting events held in one of the worlds greatest cities. There is a real desire in the UK to host the IAAF World Championships. 2017 would deliver a true Olympic legacy and with almost 2m fans signing up for London 2012 athletics tickets there is a huge appetite for our sport in the capital. On 6 October, the IAAF Evaluation Commission concluded its two–stop tour of cities bidding for the 2017 World Championships with a visit to Doha, the capital of Qatar. Underlining its determination to follow up on its hosting of international athletics meetings and the World Indoor Championships last year by earning the right to host the IAAFs most important competition, Qatar looked to impress the Evaluation Commission with the facilities in Doha. Hersh said: Doha is a city that has shown fantastic growth and development, and I've been impressed by how that growth has continued since my most recent visit here last year. As organisational delegate for the 2010 IAAF World Indoor Championships in Doha, I have personally experienced how well the Qataris can organise a major athletics event. They were perfect partners then, and a pleasure to work with. There is no doubt that the Doha team are extremely motivated and dedicated to making a very strong bid, where innovation and new ideas take centre stage, Hersh continued. For example, we heard that as part of the refurbishment plans for the Khalifa Stadium, not only will there be a sophisticated air conditioning system in place to ensure comfortable temperatures for the athletes and spectators, but also a giant 100–metre panoramic screen that will allow fans to enjoy the action in a new way. We also appreciate the significance of the Bid Committee's vision that the World Championships can provide an opportunity to continue the development of athletics in new regions worldwide. " Abdulla Al Zaini, president of the Qatar Association of Athletics Federation (QAAF) and executive director of Doha 2017 Bid Committee, said: We want to show the IAAF that selecting Doha will be an investment in the future of the sport. Because we want to set new standards and to organise a World Championships like before and at the same we want to develop new solutions for reaching new frontiers. A 2017 World Championships in Doha will be a catalyst for developing our sport all over the world. We feel we have the resources, the vision and the commitment needed and we are convinced that Doha 2017 will be the right partner for the IAAF. The IAAF Evaluation Commission visited main venues that are being proposed for the 2017 event including the 40, 000 seat Khalifa Stadium that was used for the Asian Games, and a number of training and warm up facilities located in what is called the Aspire Zone. The proposed main competition site, Khalifa Stadium, is set to be refurbished by 2016, just prior to the Championships. It will become the first climate controlled stadium to host a World Championships and by 2017, is expected to be one of the most technologically advanced stadiums in the world. The Commission subsequently visited the Al Sadd Stadium to experience the cooling technology already operational there. The Evaluation Commission was accompanied by Doha 2017 Bid Ambassador Andreas Thorkildsen of Norway, who coached a young group of athletes on site. As well as reviewing the media and medical facilities within the Aspire Zone, the delegation visited the Qatar Foundations new conference facility, the Qatar National Convention Centre. This remarkable new facility, which is officially opening in the winter, would be used as the venue for the Congress of the IAAFs 212 Member Federations that always precedes the competition. Finally, the delegation visited the site of 'Athletics City', which is part of a new development of luxury apartments which is proposed as an athletes village and will allow athletes to be within walking distance of Dohas traditional centre and the seven–kilometre Corniche. The bid committee, which is chaired by the general secretary of the Qatar Olympic Committee Sheikh Saoud Bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, presented the technical bid for the Championships covering detailed plans for technical organisation, transport, marketing and promotion, security and broadcasting.

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