Doha’s way of com­bat­ting the heat.


Athletics Weekly - - Contents -

DOHA is the first venue in the Mid­dle East to hold the IAAF World Cham­pi­onships but it will also be the first to fea­ture a pink track and a cool­ing sys­tem in­side the sta­dium.

It was the lat­ter that re­ceived most at­ten­tion when the Qatari cap­i­tal cel­e­brated its ‘one year to go’ mile­stone last week.

Around 3000 cool­ing ma­chines will pump cold air out into the stands and side of the track in or­der to bring tem­per­a­tures from roughly

40C in the day and 30C in the evening down to a more tol­er­a­ble 25-26C (po­ten­tially as low as 21C) for ses­sions.

The cold air will push the warm air up­wards and out of the Khal­ifa Sta­dium through a gap in the roof but the sys­tem will be turned off tem­po­rar­ily dur­ing com­pe­ti­tions so that it does not in­ter­fere with wind speeds on the track.

IAAF Coun­cil mem­ber Ge­off Gard­ner said: “I don’t know if the rest of the world re­ally be­lieved this was pos­si­ble but it’s an amaz­ing sys­tem and it shows that our cham­pi­onships can be con­ducted here in a good en­vi­ron­ment for ath­letes.”

The sys­tem, which will also be used in var­i­ous sta­dia in Qatar for the 2020 FIFA World Cup, is sus­tain­able in that it stores the rain­wa­ter that falls on the roof in a huge tank. The wa­ter is then cooled, if nec­es­sary, and piped back into the sta­dium to cool the air.

All this will be tested at the Asian Ath­let­ics Cham­pi­onships in April, fol­lowed by the Di­a­mond League in Doha in May.

World Cham­pi­onships tick­ets have also been launched, start­ing from €14 for taster ses­sions and more ex­pen­sive seats give spec­ta­tors the chance to sit in Arab-style cush­ioned Ma­jlis seat­ing.

As pre­vi­ously re­ported, the event will also see the first-ever mid­night marathon and a first 4x400m mixed re­lay, while the de­cathlon and hep­tathlon will take place on the same days.

IAAF pres­i­dent Seb Coe said: “Qatar has been host­ing of­fi­cial IAAF events for over 21 years and we have a trusted part­ner who is com­mit­ted to de­liv­er­ing a World Ath­let­ics Cham­pi­onships which makes a real dif­fer­ence to the world of ath­let­ics. With a year to go it is im­por­tant the foun­da­tions are in place, so the fi­nal year can be spent test­ing fa­cil­i­ties, sys­tems and ser­vices.”

As for qual­i­fi­ca­tion, the sys­tem com­bines IAAF world rank­ing po­si­tions, wild card in­vi­ta­tions (such as reign­ing world cham­pi­ons or Di­a­mond League lead­ers) and en­try stan­dards.

Hur­dles star Ab­der­rah­man Samba and high jumper Mu­taz Essa Barshim will be among the host na­tion’s top medal hopes – and Samba said: “My heart is al­ready rac­ing, and the adren­a­line is pump­ing just by stand­ing on the track.”

Khal­ifa In­ter­na­tional Sta­dium: will host next year’s IAAF World Cham­pi­onships

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