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  1. #2941

    Re: Other Sports Random, Random

    Dire in Doha: world championships ‘catastrophe’ leaves athletics reeling
    Empty seats and ghostly silence have been the sad feature of this PR disaster for the sport, the IAAF, Lord Coe and Qatar

    Sean Ingle in Doha
    Mon 30 Sep 2019 18.18 BST

    Moments after the greatest 10.83 seconds of Dina Asher-Smith’s life, the British sprinter grabbed a union flag from her mother, Julie, and began a lap of honour to celebrate her world championship 100m silver medal. But as she trotted round the 40,000-seat Khalifa stadium in Doha on Sunday night she was greeted by banks of empty seats and a ghostly silence.

    Observers reckoned there were no more than 1,000 people still in attendance and many of them were journalists tapping away to deadline. Asher-Smith’s mother later tweeted she had seen more spectators at England Athletics’ age-group championships in Bedford.

    Asher-Smith’s teammate Beth Dobbin was even more blunt. “I watched Dina’s victory lap and that was a bit heartbreaking because what she did was insane and there was no one there,” she said. “I feel like she was robbed of that moment.”

    The organisers have since blamed the start of the working week and an event schedule designed for European TV audiences. But that cannot hide a simple fact. These world athletics championships have been a PR disaster for athletics, for the sport’s president, Sebastian Coe, and for Qatar, a country which has spent the past decade buying up rights to host major events, including the 2022 football World Cup.

    Even Denise Lewis, the 2000 Olympic heptathlon champion who is not known for controversial views, has stuck the boot in, telling the BBC: “Our governing body has let our athletes down massively.” Meanwhile Eurosport, which holds Olympic TV rights across Europe, also mocked the lack of crowd for the women’s sprint final. “The Doha crowd roars with approval,” it tweeted with a gif of tumbleweed.


    It is all a far cry from the promises made by Qatar in its first bid for these championships in 2011. “No empty seats,” the prospectus said, adding that “the atmosphere surrounding the world championships will be fantastic”.

    That was a pledge that always looked spurious. But at least it was made several years ago. Coe, who was on the evaluation commission that inspected Doha’s bid for the 2019 championships and is reported to have later voted for it, said he hoped it would be “spectacular” just a few days ago.

    Instead the stadium has often looked at least half empty, even though large parts of it have been covered with fabric and the capacity reduced to 21,000. And that is despite attendances being bolstered by organisers giving thousands of migrant workers from Africa and India free tickets.

    On Monday they claimed that attendances had been “solid” for the first two days, at around 70%, but conceded “numbers were down on our expectations on day three with the start of the working week in Qatar”.

    It added: “The challenge we face with a competition schedule that is geared to support global TV viewership is that some finals are not starting until the late evening. This impacts on the number of spectators remaining until the end of the session. We are confident that our renewed efforts will encourage the local community to come and witness the stunning performance of the world’s best athletes.

    “We know it is a balance and we are pleased global viewers can tune in to watch the live action from Doha.”

    This, though, was a disaster foretold. After Doha was controversially awarded the championships – having offered £23.5m towards extra sponsorship and a promise to build 10 new tracks around the world minutes before the vote in 2014 when it defeated Eugene and Barcelona – the former IAAF board member Helmut Digel called it “incomprehensible”.

    However José María Odriozola, a Spanish IAAF executive well-versed in the lingua franca of sports politics, cut to the heart of the matter. “All Doha have is money,” he said.

    For many sports federations that is enough, whatever the athletes may think. Yet with every passing hour, more of them are voicing discontent. The French decathlete Kevin Mayer, the world record holder, has called the championships a “catastrophe”. Other athletes have claimed they are being treated as “guinea pigs” by a governing body that has forced marathon runners and race walkers to compete in 31C heat and high humidity, which has led to some being carried off the course in wheelchairs.

    As Belarus’s Volha Mazuronak, who finished fifth in the women’s marathon in the early hours of Saturday morning, put it: “I thought I wouldn’t finish. It’s disrespect towards the athletes. A bunch of high-ranked officials gathered and decided that it would take the world championships here but they are sitting in the cool and they are probably sleeping right now.”


    No one doubts that track and field has lost most of the momentum gained from the London 2017 world championships, which were watched by 750,000 people in the flesh and millions more on television. On Sunday evening Adam Gemili admitted it had been a “weird” event, adding: “It makes the British championships look quite good.” A colleague, the race walker Tom Bosworth, was even more cutting: “The only people carrying this sport are the athletes,” he said. “The IAAF truly should be ashamed.”

    However, Coe continues to maintain that track and field must venture into new territories to help spread the word. Tell that to the 1,972 athletes from 208 countries here in Doha. For many this will be the pinnacle of their careers. How sad, then, that it has turned into a nadir for their sport.

    https://www.theguardian.com/sport/20...ps-crowds-iaaf
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa





  2. #2942

    Re: Other Sports Random, Random

    The marathon what, started at midnight and was still hot enough that barely more than 50% finished?

  3. #2943

    Re: Other Sports Random, Random

    This doesn't bode well for the World Cup does it?
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa





  4. #2944

    Re: Other Sports Random, Random

    I was in Doha during the summer. I made the mistake of walking from the Museum to the Sukh at noon. I got there and it was the same as if I had jumped into a pool.
    The World Cup will be in great trouble. If they were to hold it in January, with all matches at night, maybe. Otherwise, you will see the players faint.
    My understanding, BTW, is that none of the stadia are roofed.
    Missing winter...

  5. #2945

    Re: Other Sports Random, Random

    It's football, they can just stand still the whole match, and then have the matches decided by penalty shots.

  6. #2946

    Re: Other Sports Random, Random

    I've been to Dubai in winter. It was a pleasant weather, sunny and a high of 25-27 C. Summer is another story.
    Roger forever

  7. #2947

    Re: Other Sports Random, Random

    WC will be held during Nov-Dec.

    Don't know how that translates weather-wise.
    Meet again we do, old foe...

  8. #2948

    Re: Other Sports Random, Random

    I'm catching up on the track and field/athletics championships.

    The women's long jump champion Yulimar Andrea Rojas Rodríguez from Venezuela is quite a character.

    She makes Caterine Ibargüen Mena of Colombia appear to be an introvert.

    Then there's Tori Franklin of the US who makes both of them look like wallflowers.

    The South American Champion Yosiris Urrutia Chaverra of Colombia compared to the other three disappears into the background.
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa





  9. #2949

    Re: Other Sports Random, Random

    She is quite popular back as when she won silver in Rio 2016 and the government tried to use her image for political propaganda she quickly said that the government had never done anything for her and she had had to train all her life by herself (not quite true, as she is signed by Nike).
    But please expand on why you claim she is a character.

    Ibargüen, basically a Colombian goddess, is simply fun. She has a good sense of humor and people love her here.
    Missing winter...

  10. #2950

    Re: Other Sports Random, Random

    Quote Originally Posted by ponchi101 View Post
    She is quite popular back as when she won silver in Rio 2016 and the government tried to use her image for political propaganda she quickly said that the government had never done anything for her and she had had to train all her life by herself (not quite true, as she is signed by Nike).
    But please expand on why you claim she is a character.

    Ibargüen, basically a Colombian goddess, is simply fun. She has a good sense of humor and people love her here.
    Rojas? Where do I start? When she's preparing to jump she screams, she hits her hips and thighs, screams again, fidgets, maybe two or three more screams, and then she makes her way down the runway.

    I mean it in a good way. I enjoyed all three ladies. There is a Cuban woman, Liadagmis Povea Rodríguez, who trains with Rojas and almost copies Rojas gesture and sound per gesture and sound. They are great to watch and bring interest to what can be a very dull sport.



    You get an idea of her personality at the beginning. Exuberant may be a better word Ponchi?
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa





  11. #2951

    Re: Other Sports Random, Random

    My fave is still Ibargüen but it looks as if Rojas is a worthy successor.
    There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”

    ― Frank Zappa





  12. #2952

    Re: Other Sports Random, Random

    I know you meant it in a good way. Just that I only saw a bit of her during Rio, because of course 3/4 of Colombia was watching Catherine.
    Missing winter...

  13. #2953

    Re: Other Sports Random, Random

    Have you noticed the spectacular collapse of NBA China collaboration? In my opinion in the medium term they don't stand a chance and will have to abandon that market.
    Roger forever

  14. #2954

    Re: Other Sports Random, Random

    Disagree. The prostitutes that run the NBA (in the same way that prostitutes run the NFL and MLB. AND ATP and WTA) will find a way to remain friends with the Chinese ruling party, even if that involves handing Adam Silver over and allowing the Chinese to dismember him and serve him as Wonton soup.
    Not only how many basket balls can they sell in China, how many jerseys and other flotsam can me marketed there.
    Hong Kong protestors can be so easily forgotten and the Chinese know it. Tienanmen, anybody?
    Missing winter...

  15. #2955

    Re: Other Sports Random, Random

    They might be tempted to, but they won't be able to with Chinese this hypersensitive. One executive, player or owner in any team who doesn't give a shit is all it will take. If you fire them they'll sue plus you risk damaging the far bigger US market. A rock and the hard place...
    Roger forever

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