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Friday, November 10, 2006

The Qatar Asian Games

Just eighteen days to go tReady or not...o the Asian Games, and as I write this (at eleven o’ clock on a Friday evening), I can hear the frantic banging of electric drills and screeching of dragged metal girders from the road outside. The whole city seems like a building site, and is in a rushed scramble to get ready before the eyes of Asia turn upon it. Of special annoyance is the seemingly random opening and shutting of roads – never with notice, signs or explanation.

Yet I have a feeling that everything will go smoothly during the games themselves. Yes, there will still be unfinished buildings everywhere, and there will be journalists sleeping on floors (a friend is putting up several), but the stadiums are built, the rehearsals complete and the roads – well, lets not talk about roads anymore. It’s a sore point with Doha residents. But they’ll be functioning. Orrie, the Doha Asian Games mascot, counts the days, hours, minutes and seconds to the start of the 19th Asian Games

The city is immensely proud of having won the opportunity to host the 19th Asian Games. The successful holding of the games are crucial to part of a bigger strategy to put this tiny country on the map, attract tourism and diversify away from its dependence on oil and gas. Qatar has a lot of hopes pinned on this event.

It’s perhaps worth remembering that part of the reason the Asian Olympic Games were started were to provide an avenue for countries to compete without going to war. As we’ve pointed out before, Qatar likes to show off through its sport and its buildings rather than through armies and weapons. If only other countries in the region would take the same attitude.

Asian Games Football Tournament

For more information see the offical website of the 15th Asian Games
Building from the Doha Athletes Village

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