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The Emir declares World Championships open

Huge crowd attends action at Khalifa Stadium and midnight marathon at the spectacular Corniche.
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The Emir HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, flanked by the International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, left, and International Association of Athletics Federations President Sebastian Coe at the opening of the IAAF World Championships in Doha on Friday night. IQ Photo: Vinod Divakaran

Tens of thousands of Qatar residents and visitors attended the proceedings on the opening day of the IAAF World Championships in Doha, making it a memorable one, on Friday.

Millions of people all around the world also watched the action on television as more than 2000 athletes from 210 countries began their quest for glory in the 10-day championships that will conclude on October 6.

While the heats and qualifying competitions in several events started from early evening at the magnificent Khalifa International Stadium, by 10pm the focus shifted to the well-decorated and flood-lit Corniche where the Emir HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani declared the Championships open, wishing all participants success and a pleasant stay in Qatar.

Later, HH the Emir gave the starting orders to the women marathon runners, the only final of the first day’s schedule.

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The women marathon runners on the Corniche Street soon after the start of the race at midnight on Friday. IQ Photo: Vinod Divakaran

The opening ceremony was attended by HH Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani, Personal Representative of HH the Emir, HE Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani, President of the Qatar Olympic Committee and a number of their Excellencies, Sheikhs and Ministers.

The ceremony was also attended by the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Dr Thomas Bach, members of the IOC, President of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Lord Sebastian Coe, members of the IAAF, and a number of other Olympic and sport personalities, heads of diplomatic missions accredited to Qatar and several top officials and VIPs.

Earlier, HH the Emir met with the IOC President Thomas Bach. Thir meeting focused on reviewing the cooperation between the State of Qatar and the IOC, and the means to enhance them, in addition to discussing issues of joint interest in the sports field.

HE Sheikh Joaan also attended this meeting.