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‘Fantastic effort at such short notice’

It will be a great World Beach Games and Qatar can pull it off, say chefs de mission.
Anna Marie from the Games Preparation Department of the Austrian Embassy is looking forward to a ‘great Games’. Photo: Vijay Michael Raj

“Qatar can do it.” “Impressive infrastructure.” “Amazing organising ability.” “Qatar has hosted big events before.” These were some of the comments from the foreign delegates at the Association of National Olympic Committees’ (ANOC) Chefs de Mission seminar in Doha recently.
Not surprising, given that Qatar had plunged headlong into hosting an event with a tight deadline – just four months to prepare for the World Beach Games with 3000 athletes and officials in attendance.

Can venues be made ready in such a short period? Can a Games village be put in place so quickly? Can so many officials and athletes enjoy a comfortable stay? Worrying questions would have nagged the delegates, but a visit to Katara Beach and Gharafa Sports Complex, the two main venues for the October 12 to 16 Games, dispelled these doubts.

“I am really impressed with the work the organising committee and the Qatar Olympic Committee have done so far,” said Anna Marie from the Games Preparation Department of the Austrian Embassy. “I am looking forward to a great Games. I think Qatar can pull it off.”

Sebastian-Zeller, High-Performance Manager at NOC, Luxembourg is impressed with the beach volleyball venue. Vijay Michael Raj

Dr Sebastian Zeller, the High Performance Manager of the Luxembourg Olympic and Sporting Committee, said, “Considering that Qatar just had a short time to prepare, we were surprised at the progress. The venues, especially for beach volleyball where there is an amphitheatre, are impressive.”

Kristoff, the German team’s Project Manager for the Games, too sounded very optimistic. “We will have a good Beach Games. Qatar is well-prepared. They have a bit more to do, but I think they can pull it off,” he said.

Helen Delima, the Indonesian Chef de Mission, had feared the event would not see the light of day, after original host San Diego’s failure to raise necessary funds. “We thought the Beach Games will not be held. We are thankful to Qatar for agreeing to host the Games. After seeing the venues in Doha, we are confident it will be a great Games.”

Mohammed Falah, the Chef De Mission from Mozambique, echoed similar sentiments. “If ANOC asks Qatar to host the Games today, by tomorrow they will be ready with everything in place,” he said.

Indeed, October 12 to 16 promises a great time for athletes and officials. The World Beach Games, almost a non-starter a few months ago, looks set to shift into cruise mode in a month’s time.