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Doha 2016 bid brings wind of change
Doha launches its bid for the 2016 Olympics, the first bid by a Middle Eastern city.
Last Modified: 27 Oct 2007 07:55 GMT

The Doha 2016 bid logo is in the form of an
Aldahma flower, celebrating change [Al Jazeera]

The 2016 Olympics may be nine years away, but for Doha, their bid to host the Games of the XXXI Olympiad begins now.
Sheikh Tameem Bin Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, Heir Apparent of Qatar, was in attendance at a ceremony on the Corniche of the Qatari capital to help launch Doha's official bid to become the host city for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Doha, who will most certainly draw on their experience of successfully hosting the 15th Asian Games in December last year, is the first Middle Eastern city to bid for an Olympic and Paralympic Games.
 
Hassan Ali Bin Ali, chairman of the Doha 2016 bid, said the Doha campaign would be focused on youth, change, and understanding.
 
"Hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Doha in 2016 would bring the Olympic flame to the Arabic-speaking world for the very first time and extend the Olympic ideals to millions of new hearts and minds," Hassan said in a statement during the ceremony.
 

"We are celebrating the changes that hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games will bring to Qatar, to Doha, to this entire region and to the wider world."

Hassan Ali Bin Ali,
Doha 2016 bid chairman

"Our vision for the Games will be focused on the world's youth. It is among the young people of this region and the rest of the world that we must nourish these core values of respect, tolerance, understanding and hope, and through these ideals offer them an opportunity to effect great and positive changes to the world that they will inherit."
 
"Celebrating Change"
 

Archer and rally driver Nada Zeidan fires
an arrow to ignite the logo launch [Al Jazeera]

For the finale of the launch, Doha's bid logo and tagline were revealed, along with the official website address: http://www.doha2016.org
 
The logo was created by students at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar, with its modest and appealing appearance spelling out the words 'Al-Doha' and '2016' in Arabic characters.
 
The characters also take the form of a 'Flower of the Spring' - the Aldahma, with the tagline announced as "Celebrating Change".
 
"A celebration is about unity and friendship. It is about optimism and commemorating change. It is open and welcoming. It overcomes barriers to cultures and peoples. It honours achievement," the bid chairman said.
 
"We are celebrating the momentous changes that have taken place and continue to take place in our country.
 
"We are celebrating the changes that hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games will bring to Qatar, to Doha, to this entire region and to the wider world."
 
Hassan concluded by urging the entire population of Qatar, both citizens and expatriates, to support the Doha bid.
 
"The Doha 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Bid can change Qatar. It can change this entire region. It can change the world. Now that will indeed be a change to celebrate."
 
An unconventional launch
 

Performers at the launch put on a show of
singing, dancing, and acrobatics [Al Jazeera]

Thousands gathered for the ceremony on Doha's Corniche, with the main entertainment for the night provided by a singing, dancing and acrobatic group whose contemporary performance was an interesting choice for the usually conventional and conservative Qatar.
 
Set to the music of US artists Train, Kool & the Gang, Christina Aguilera, and Marilyn Manson, the troupes' performance was impressive, if not slightly kitsch, although some of their provocative moves and costumes left little to the imagination.
 
Appropriate or not, the downside of the launch was that the main stage was only directly visible to dignitaries and a handful of media, while the public - the very people who were asked to get behind the bid, were left sitting hundreds of metres away and forced to try and follow the events on big screens without any sound.
 
The PR group promoting the event had done a magnificent job in drawing a crowd down to the Corniche through heavy advertising in print and on radio, plus an SMS campaign direct to most Qatar mobile phones.
 
Living up to the hype
 

Thousands gathered at the 2016 bid launch, but
most could not view the live show [Al Jazeera]

However the Doha bid team must quickly learn that if they promote an event to the people, then it must also be for the people, and not just VIPs.
 
For many of the public who made the effort to attend, the end product did not live up to the hype, something Doha will be hoping does not happen to their bid for the 2016 Olympics.
 
Doha is competing against Chicago, Rio, Madrid, Prague, Tokyo and the Azerbaijani capital Baku for hosting rights, with all cities now working on their official bid files which will contain answers to a 25-question IOC form, to be submitted by January 14, 2008.
 
The seven applicant cities will then be trimmed down to a shortlist of candidate cities in June next year, before the eventual winner of the 2016 bid process is announced in Copenhagen on October 2, 2009.
Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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