DOHA — Qatar is determined to bring the 2036 Summer Olympic Games to Doha, according to a source familiar with the Olympic bidding process.
The success so far of the ongoing FIFA soccer World Cup has emboldened the Qataris and strengthened their resolve to host the Olympics.
No timeframe has been announced by the International Olympic Committee on when it plans to award the 2036 sports extravaganza.
Were the Games to go to Doha it would be the first to be staged in a Muslim country.
Qatar failed to make the cut for the shortlist for both the 2016 and 2020 Games, partly due to concerns over the summer temperatures in the desert state, with those Games ending up in Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo.
It is expected Qatar would push to move any Olympics later in the year, like it has done with the World Cup, and the Gulf state has made use of advanced air-conditioning systems in stadiums to mitigate the heat for the football.
Doha staged the World Athletics Championships in 2019 at the Khalifa International Stadium, from late September to early October.
The IOC has revamped the process for awarding the Games since then, changing from a traditional bidding process to selecting a preferred candidate from interested cities.
Brisbane 2032 were the first Games to be awarded using this method.
With the Games going to Paris in 2024, Los Angeles in 2028 and then Brisbane, a bid from Qatar might be expected to be received warmly if the IOC were to rotate continents, although the IOC said in October it was in preliminary discussions with 10 cities.
Countries who have expressed an interest in staging the 2036 Games include India, Indonesia and South Korea. Germany is also considering whether to launch another Olympic bid despite strong domestic opposition to the Olympics.
Qatar will feel in a very strong position, one source told Reuters. “The success so far of this World Cup puts Qatar in a strong position – they have shown they can do this… it is a proof of concept.
“They hosted the Asian Games in 2006; and will be hosting them again in 2030.
“All of the infrastructure is here – the stadiums, the metro, the new airport.”
The Qatar Olympic Committee did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Qatar built seven of the eight World Cup stadiums from scratch, but it will struggle to find regular use for all of them. The Olympics would be seen as a natural fit given the extended infrastructure upgrade of the country.
Gas-rich Qatar, in an attempt to emulate the dramatic transformation of Gulf rivals Dubai and Abu Dhabi, has spent at least $229 billion on infrastructure in the 11 years since winning the bid to host the World Cup, and now boasts a gleaming new subway system as well as state-of-the-art sports facilities.
Much of the work was planned independently as Qatar pushes to diversify its non-energy economy, with ambitions to become a regional business hub and to triple tourist numbers to 6 million a year by 2030, a government official told Reuters earlier this year.
As one of the world’s biggest liquefied natural gas (LNG) producers, Qatar has become one of the wealthiest nations per capita with a population of a little over 3 million, of which 85% are expatriates.