by Azmat Haroon
Doha: While talking about Qatar’s legacy plans for 2022 FIFA World Cup, most people think about architectural designs and physical structures, but the intangible and valuable legacy for Qatar would be its national pride.
Speaking on a panel about Qatar’s legacy plans, Shireen Hamdan, a senior architect working with Populous, said that Qatar is creating awareness in the region with sports. “Middle East is always in the news for one political reason or another but this is creating national pride on a regional level. That’s a legacy in itself,” she said yesterday.
Hamdan was speaking at the second annual Coliseum Summit at the Torch among other experts on world’s major sport venues.
She explained that Middle Eastern sports were unheard of prior to Qatar’s bid. There were no infrastructure and revenue generating sports programmes in the area before. “(With the World Cup) Qatar is promoting female sports development in the region and sports development on all levels. Most of the Arab countries back Qatar. This is a good kick start for the next 30-40 years,” Hamdan added.
Experts agreed that sports legacy is not confined to building mega-structures alone and that there is a need to analyse the human benefits of hosting events such as Olympics and Fifa World Cup.Losail Stadium to host World Cup opening ceremony
Legacy is also a central part of the Doha 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games bid, which aims to empower a new generation of girls and boys to become active through sports. The facilities are said to benefit the whole region- particularly women- through a High Performance Training Centre for female athletes.
With 2022 Fifa World Cup, the world’s biggest sporting event is set to have a long-lasting impact on Qatar and the region at large, as it generates hope and opportunities in the years to come.
In Qatar, nine of the 12 planned stadiums will be based on modular components. Apart from being innovative, the newly-built facilities would also promote the culture of Qatar world over. “When we build mega-structures in Qatar, we usually do it with the highest standard possible,” said Yasir Al Jamal, Technical Director of Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee.
“For the stadiums, the Losail Stadium is going to be the main facility as it will be used for the opening ceremony of the World Cup. That stadium would be a landmark so it reflects the culture of Qatar,” Al Jamal added.
In the run up to 2022, Qatar is expected to undergo massive transformations. The population alone is expected to increase up to 3 million from 1.8 million. Adding on to that are the infrastructural developments- railways being one of the major ones- the impact of these changes would be monumental on the local as well as expatriate communities. “In simple terms, legacy is about what we leave behind, the experience of the fans, the players and the world during the tournament,” said a senior representative from CH2M Hill.
He added that during the planning stages of the London Olympics, legacy business plans were extensively studied, which are expected to rejuvenate the whole East End of London- one of the country’s most deprived localities.
Experts agreed that the World Cup has given Qataris an opportunity to make sports a way of their lives. And that itself was their legacy to themselves.
“The people of Qatar themselves will be a legacy to the tournament,” said Tim Brouw, a senior sports architect who has also worked on Sydney Olympic Games.The Peninsula