Doha fans answer critics in resounding manner
Spectators turn up in big numbers to create a terrific atmosphere inside the Khalifa International Stadium.
The roars from the Khalifa International Stadium on Friday night seemed a resounding riposte to those who kept doubting the crowd response to the IAAF World Championships in Doha.
No finals were scheduled on the day inside the stadium, but qualifying rounds were gone through in a clutch of events. There were excellent performances as the favourites moved through the rounds and the fans who filled the stands lapped up every moment of the action. There were Kenyans, Jamaicans, Ethiopians, Indians and of course the Qataris, making it a lively night of track and field.
The preliminary rounds and the first round of the men’s 100M were for starters. Women pole vaulters literally raised the bar and in the jumping pit, the present and future rubbed shoulders in good measure. Also of note was the emerging battle in 400M hurdles, between Qatar’s Abderrahman Samba, Norway’s Karsten Warholm and Rai Benjamin of the United States.
But the loudest cheers were reserved for the 5000M first round where a remarkable tale of sportsmanship was played out. The fans were on their feet as Braima Suncar Dabo of Guinea-Bissau helped a staggering Jonathan Busby of Aruba to the finish line. Noise levels reached a crescendo at that point, creating a terrific atmosphere inside the stadium.
The organisers had always maintained that spectators would be there to support the event and the fact that it was a Friday also helped matters. It remains to be seen whether the crowd support continues through the weekdays, but initial fears were well and truly dispelled by the sporting public of Doha.