New Mondo surface at Khalifa Stadium (© LOC)
The competition schedule for the IAAF World Championships Doha 2019 has been unveiled today with a new format that enables spectators to have an exciting and engaging event experience. Details for the IAAF World Championships’ first-ever midnight marathon have also been announced with a stunning setting that will showcase the event like never before.
A revamp to the competition schedule sees all morning sessions removed and split evening sessions introduced for the first time. One-hour intervals will be incorporated into each session to combine entertainment and family-centred activities with the excitement of the competitive action, engaging all ages and interests through athletics.
Progress on track
Commenting on the World Championships Doha 2019, Vice Chairman and Director General of the Local Organising Committee and IAAF Vice President Dahlan Al Hamad, said:
“It is our ambition to organise an innovative, creative and exciting event that inspires and engages new fans, new athletes and new audiences and maximises the full potential of our region’s first-ever IAAF World Championships. We are very excited to unveil, in partnership with the IAAF, the new competition schedule and night marathon format today. These will enable us to showcase the sport like never seen before, capturing the attention of young people in Qatar and around the world and connecting them to the contagious excitement of athletics.
“Progress is fully on track for WCH Doha 2019 and we look forward to combining our passion for athletics, our experience and knowledge of hosting major athletics events, and our warm hospitality and rich culture to organise a unique, memorable and highly successful World Championships. We cannot wait to welcome the world to Doha in 2019.”
Meanwhile, IAAF President Sebastian Coe said:
Finding ways to bring the emotion and appeal of athletics to the local community and the region has always been one of Doha’s ambitions for hosting the IAAF World Championships. Both our teams have explored creative ways to meet this ambition, bringing together sport expertise and cultural knowledge in a new and entertaining way. It is exciting to see the way the World Championships are being developed and adapted to the host country and region mixing world class competition with an ambitious entertainment and engagement plan that we hope will delight athletes, spectators and viewers around the world.”
“We have some great World Championship firsts as well. The first 4x400m mixed relay will have its global debut ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, the first midnight marathon, the evening sessions with semi-finals and finals only and dedicated slots in the timetable for the final stages of field events allowing full focus on the decisive and most thrilling moments and attempts. We are looking forward to seeing how these firsts and the engagement format will come together next year to deliver a World Championships that will look and feel different.”
A midnight marathon
The spectacular midnight marathon will take place along Doha’s iconic Corniche with the city’s iconic night skyline as a beautiful backdrop, providing stunning imagery for TV’s global audience. Lights along the entire route will bring the full marathon to life with spectators enjoying family-friendly activations to give the event a festival atmosphere for athletes and fans alike. The popularity of night running events has grown considerably over recent years with Doha 2019 embracing the latest trend of the biggest global movement to bring a unique and different element to the World Championships. Organisers will apply experience gained in hosting the world’s first night-time MotoGP race at Lusail International Circuit to ensure a highly successful event that leaves a future legacy for further night road racing and other events around the world.
Further progress has been made with the completion of the renovation of Khalifa International Stadium, which has been transformed into one of the most technologically advanced stadiums in the world. The Global Sustainability Assessment System (GSAS) certified stadium has LED lighting, digital floodlights and air-conditioning technology that will provide optimal conditions for athletes, spectators, officials and media.
Working with bespoke light and stage designers will allow fully integrated state of the art video screens and stage designs, bringing the wonderful Doha landmarks to the Khalifa Stadium, creating never seen before scenery for the medal ceremonies and the competition.
The stadium, which lies at the heart of Doha’s world-renowned sporting centre, the Aspire Park, was fully and successfully tested for the Emir Cup Final in 2017 and will be utilised further ahead of the World Championships with the 2019 Doha Diamond League and the 2019 Asian Athletics Championships, which will be the official test event for the World Championships.
When the world’s best athletes take the global stage at the IAAF World Championships Doha 2019, it will be on a Mondotrack WS surface. For the first time-ever the colour chosen for the track will be pink. This new aspect as enabled MONDO to personalise its prefabricated surface to match the look and feel of the event, whilst assuring its traditional uniform biomechanical response all over the track surface. Commenting on behalf of Mondo Sport & Flooring, Maurizio Stroppiana said:
“In January 2018, we completed the installation of our Mondotrack for the main and warm-up tracks at Khalifa International Stadium. We are proud to be part of the transformation of the biggest Stadium in Qatar, contributing to its improvement with our track surface. Further to the innovative look and feel of the color, the surface is Greenguard Gold, certified for its low VOC emissions. We believe Mondotrack WS will contribute to the look, to the performances and to the sustainability of the IAAF World Championships Doha 2019.”
Qatar has been hosting international athletics events for over 21 years from the first-ever IAAF Grand Prix in 1997, which later became the Doha Diamond League in 2010 and this year is celebrating its ninth edition, in addition to the 2010 IAAF World Indoor Championships. Qatar won its first major medal in athletics at the Barcelona 92 Olympic Games with Mohamed Suleiman taking bronze in the 1500m. Since then, Qatar’s strength and depth on the global stage has continued to grow and last year the nation’s sporting legend Mutaz Barshim won the coveted IAAF World Athlete of the Year award after becoming the first high jumper since 2004 to be undefeated for a whole season, including winning the 2017 IAAF World Championships and Diamond League Trophy.
Speaking about the opportunity that the Doha 2019 World Championships will bring, Mutaz Barshim said:
“I am so excited to compete in the IAAF World Championships in front of my home crowd, with my family and friends in the stadium. It is not many athletes that get to experience a special moment like that. However, more importantly I want to create a spark that will later become a legacy. I hope that more young people in Qatar and around the region will be inspired to participate in athletics. This isn’t just about becoming a future World Champion but enjoying the simple fun and excitement of the best sport in the world.”
The WCH Doha 2019 will be particularly profound for the continued growth of women’s athletics across the region. The performance of Qatar’s female athletics team has improved considerably over recent years with females participating in the past two Olympic Games and strong achievements on a regional level. Commenting on the opportunity, Sheikha Asma Al Thani, Marketing and Communications Director of the WCH Doha 2019 said:
“It is our ambition that the World Championships in Doha will help to inspire more young girls from across the region to see that anything is possible and that they can achieve their dreams. We want to break down barriers and change perceptions of Arab women in sport, and inspire and empower more and more girls to participate in sport at any level.”
Doha 2019 LOC for the IAAF