the controversial debut of the World Athletics Championships in Doha

During its first weekend, the competition was marked by controversies over extreme weather conditions and images of a Khalifa stadium stripped of spectators.

Time to Reading 3 min.

Subscribers article

Since the start of the World Championships on Friday, September 27, the Khalifa stadium is far from refueling.
Since the start of the World Championships on Friday, September 27, the Khalifa stadium is far from refueling. ANDREJ ISAKOVIC / AFP

There has been more effective advertising. The organizers took the big game for the presentation of the 100m final of the World Championships in Athletics 2,019, Saturday, September 28 in Doha. But the grandiloquent sound and light show was not enough to hide the cruel truth: the queen event, won without suspense by the American Christian Coleman, was disputed in an atmosphere unworthy of his rank.

Bad impression

After the controversies over the extreme weather conditions (heat, humidity), which resulted in an avalanche of abandonments during the women's marathon and the two 50 km walk, this first weekend of competition was nothing idyllic for the Qatari host country and the International Athletics Federation (IAAF), which had chosen five years ago to award the Worlds for the first time to a country in the Middle East.

Read also World Athletics Championships 2019: Heat, the first challenge for athletes in Doha

Since the beginning of the tests, Friday, September 27, the Khalifa stadium, yet majestic and air conditioned thanks to a system of 3,000 air vents, is far from refueling. according to The Guardianjust a few days before the opening, only 50,000 tickets had been sold for the ten days of competition, for a stadium with 46,000 seats, the capacity of which was reduced by the organizers who covered the highest part for minimize the visual bad impression.

Free tickets?

Asked by the British daily, an IAAF spokesperson validated half-word and indirectly the information that the organizers planned to distribute tickets free to children and migrant workers in the country: "It is surely a good thing that communities across Qatar are getting tickets. We think this will inspire a whole new generation of fans in the sport. "

Saturday night, even before the 100m, the usual highlight of the show among the fastest men in the world, part of the public – 8,000 officially sold tickets – thus deserted the stands at the end of the women's 10,000m. The vast majority of them were East African, Ethiopian and Kenyan spectators, more fond of cross-country running than sprinting – and very present among the local workforce.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here