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Doha 2016 Olympics : An elimination that reeks of suspicion
Africa, South America and the Arab World remain unfavoured
“The most important thing is to take part in the games”, said Baron de Coubertin, the promoter of modern olympics. The question is; is eligibility based on equality. This does not only concern athletes who take part in the games but host city candidates as well.

by Ayman Soltani, François-Aïssa Touazi and Will Ghartey Mould

But judging from the fate of Doha’s candidature as a host city for the 2016 Olympic games, one is given the leeway to remain a doubting Thomas. The International Olympic Committee eliminated Qatar from the host candidates, June 4, whereas in fact, this country had obtained much higher technical marks compared to those still left to compete for the title in the quarter final stage. They include; Chicago, Rio, Madrid and Tokyo.

And what was the main argument behind the committee’s decision to throw Doha’s candidature out of the window ? High temperatures during the summer season. Concious of this problem, Qatarians had exceptionally asked to host the games between October 15 and 30. History would prove that, this would neither have constituted a favour nor would it have been the first time in the Olympics. Since 1945, five out of 16 games have not only taken place in October, but in November and even in December : Melbourne 1956 (22 November – 8 December), Tokyo 1964 (10 - 24 October), Mexico 1968 (17 September -2 October), Seoul 1988 (17 – 2 October) and Sydney 2000 (13 September – 1 October).

Strangely though, the IOC decided to stick to the strict rules this time (The games have to be held between July 15 and August 31). Why so ? A reasonable concern about conducive weather conditions for the athletes ? The reason behind this is rather prosaic : the decisive and lopsided factor is in fact remunerations from television rights that the IOC is seeking to rake in. Big US and European television networks would have frowned on the idea that the games take place at the same time as American major league baseball, americain football and basketball as well as European football (soccer) leagues. It is therefore not a question of sports, bluntly put, money brought Doha’s candidature to an abrupt end.

Africa, South America and the Arab world rebuffed unceasingly

This choice is rather suspicious simply because, for about 112 years now, a number of American, European and Asian cities have had the privilege to be selected to hold the Olympic games whereas other regions have been continually ignored. It is the plight of Africa, South America and the Arab world. Candidatures from the arab world have always been submitted in the history of the Olympics and sadly the refusal of Doha 2016 reflects a formality.

Without a doubt, Doha’s candidature, one that surpassed an ordinary sporting framework, should have been a lot more promising. It held a hope and probably a solution towards the appeasement of the Middle East. Qatar has been particularly unequivocal in what concerns their openess to Israel. And as the head of the Doha Olympic committee said “Israel is part of the Olympic tradition ; we have signed the same Olympic charter and The Israelis have participated in past games : they will have their rightful place here”.

By prematurely eliminating Doha’s candidature, June 4, the IOC has not only missed a good chance at promoting world peace, like its statutes stipulate, but also shamelessly disappointed many. The Middle East and North Africa are not the only geographic areas affected by this decision but also many Sub Saharan African countries who supported the Qatarian candidature, hoping that one day the Olympic games will be held in Africa for the first time in history.

Unfortunately, however, the decisive factors opined, which could be applied a fortiri to an African candidature, do not reflect the slightest glimmer of hope.


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