Dubai must overcome heat for Olympic bid: Ruler
Dubai, April 28, 2010
Dubai will only bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games if it can overcome the hot weather that has hampered other Middle Eastern bids for major sporting events in the past, the emirate's ruler said.
Dubai is widely speculated to be considering a bid for the 2020 Olympics after Doha failed to land the 2016 Games, mainly because of the Qatari's proposal to host the event in October to avoid the hot summer weather in the desert state.
'That is very good news, that people talk about (a possible Dubai bid),' Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum told a small group of reporters on the sidelines of a sports conference.
'But we first have to study what we can offer. I am not going to say (2020) is too early. But we have to do our studies first.'
Flanked by his wife, Princess Haya of Jordan, and several top officials, a smiling Sheikh Mohammed said while people in the region were comfortable with the heat, it was the main issue in preparation for a possible bid.
'As my wife said we are concerned about the climate. On the other hand, nothing will stop us. But still, priority is the athlete,' he said, speaking at a hotel, located on the Palm, a man-made island off the Dubai shoreline.
'His Highness was very clear,' said his wife, an International Olympic Committee member and the president of the International Equestrian Federation.
'All of us want to see the Olympics in our part of the world. But we have to be honest about the hot weather and climate. Until we show Sheikh Mohammed that we are able to answer that question there will be no bid,' she said.
Doha became the first Middle Eastern city to launch a serious bid for the Games three years ago, but despite ranking highly in the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) evaluation report, it failed to make the shortlist.
The IOC had said at the time the October dates offered by Doha were posing a problem to the international sports calendar.
Summer Games are usually held in August.
On Wednesday, Qatar's 2022 soccer World Cup bid unveiled details of its outdoor stadium cooling technology to boost its bid, an issue Dubai would also be looking into in case of an Olympic candidacy.
'The Olympics are a dream for us,' Sheikh Mohammed said.
'It would be a great pleasure and dream for us to have the Games here,' he said.
Sprinkling the discussion with poems, jokes and stories about his passion, horse racing, the Dubai ruler, who is also the Prime Minister of the UAE, said Dubai was in a solid financial state despite the emirate's economic woes.
Dubai is expected to lean heavily on its oil-exporting neighbour Abu Dhabi, the leading member of the seven-member UAE federation, which has already stumped up billions of dollars in bailouts.
'The challenge is gone now,' he said in reference to them.
'We have to be number one at anything we do. It is hard to get there but even harder to stay there.' – Reuters