World’s elite cyclists head to Doha as countdown begins

 02 Oct 2016 - 2:27

World’s elite cyclists head to Doha as countdown begins
Cyclists in action in one of the races held earlier this year in Doha, Qatar.

The Peninsula

Doha: On any given week day, walk into the office of the Local Organising Committee of the UCI Road World Championships (RWC) Doha 2016 and you will witness a beehive of activity.   
Observe a little more and you will see that most of the work is being overseen by a soft-spoken lady, who moves around with a supreme sense of purpose.
She is Amani Aziz Al Dosari, Managing Director of the Board of Management of the UCI Road World Championships Doha 2016, and she is on a mission. Despite her busy schedule, she took some time off to talk about the mega event. 
Excerpts from the interview are below:
Q: The UCI RWC are coming to the Middle East for the first time. What advantages do you see Qatar gaining out of it?
Doha’s role in organising the UCI RWC once again acknowledges us as the world’s sporting capital. It will be further proof that we are capable of hosting any major event, irrespective of how big or complex it is.
It is also a great chance to highlight Qatar’s culture of hospitality and promote it as a global tourism destination. It will give fans a bigger understanding of our country ahead of upcoming major sporting events.  
Q: How much will the UCI RWC Doha 2016 contribute towards building local knowledge and skills?
The UCI RWC Doha 2016 is a dream-come-true moment for all of us who love cycling in Qatar and will further boost the passion for the sport locally. In addition, it can also be a good exercise in building leadership skills among future generations.
We have many Qatari citizens and children in our various organisational and volunteer teams. Working on an international project like the UCI RWC will help them expand their horizons and build a lot of local knowledge.
Q: Over the last few years, how much has the sport grown in popularity in Qatar?
Cycling has started to grow considerably. When the Tour of Qatar races began in 2002, it didn’t attract too many spectators. But nowadays, hundreds of fans line up along the Doha Corniche to catch a glimpse of the mass sprinting finishes. In Qatar’s various parks, you will be amazed to see the number of children riding bicycles. 
There are several active cycling communities in Qatar and their numbers are growing steadily. Certainly, these are exciting times for our sport. Several local businesses have come forward as partners for the UCI RWC Doha 2016.
Historically, some of the biggest companies and institutions in Qatar have been supportive of us in all our endeavors. Institutions like The Pearl-Qatar, United Development Company, Qatar Foundation, Aspire Zone Foundation, Katara Cultural Village and Al Shaqab have graciously opened up their premises for various activities related to the UCI RWC Doha 2016.
Qatar Airways has made it a lot simpler and cheaper for competitors and fans to travel to Doha. Companies like Al Marai, Dana, Ooredoo, Gulf Crafts and GL Events have also contributed to making this event a success.
Q: Qatar is fielding a young team at the UCI Road World Championships Doha 2016 – what does it mean to Qatar to have such a promising young team?
At 26 years of age, Ahmed Elbourdainy is our senior-most rider. It will be the first major competition for Jassim Al Jabri, 18, and 17-year-old Farhan Farzi. We are very proud to give our young cyclists a chance to compete on the global stage right here in their own country.  It is vital for their overall development to compete in such major international events. I’m confident they will make the best of this opportunity, and perhaps even set some new Personal Best times. I wish them luck.
Q: Can you elaborate about the Ride of Champions at The Pearl-Qatar?
The Ride of Champions is a unique race on October 15, Beginning at 7:00/8:00 from in front of the National Exhibition Centre, where we take cycling enthusiasts through different parts of the iconic Pearl-Qatar, before letting riders cross the finish line for his or her own ‘champion moment.’