Doha unveils cooling system, brand new pink track for Worlds

The Khalifa International Stadium in Doha has been equipped with air conditioning system, which can negate treacherous hot conditions that athletes would have otherwise experienced during the World Championship next year.

A demonstration of the cooling system saw the temperatures lowered to as much as 24-26 degree celcius.   -  AFP

With exactly a year to go for the Middle East’s first ever IAAF World Championships in Doha, the organisers on Thursday unveiled the revolutionary state-of-the-art cooling system at the transformed Khalifa International Stadium along with a brand new pink track.

For the first time ever, an outdoor stadium has been equipped with air conditioning system, negating treacherous hot conditions that athletes would have otherwise experienced during the world championship.

It was punishing temperature outside, close to 40 degree celcius but the AC nozzles, covering the entire stadium, were throwing cool wind inside, lowering the temperature to 24-26, providing ideal conditions for athletes and fans.

The organisers claimed that the air-conditioning system at the Khalifa stadium, which has crowd capacity of 48,000, will only make the weather pleasant and the wind, in no way, adversely affect the competitions.

The plan is to block the nozzles when competition is on, to ensure that the wind goes up in the air, instead of going straight.

However, the system would require to be closed when javelin throw competition will be on as it may assist or hinder the throw.

The Asian Championship in Doha next year will serve as a test event ahead of Worlds.

“Everything we do here will be a dry run for the FIFA 2022 World Cup. The success is for Qatar so everything has to be co-ordinated,” said Dahlan Al Hamad, the IAAF Vice President and the Director General of the Local Organising Committee (LOC).

“Most important thing is to take care of athletes. This will be sure used by other nations. World championships are always in different temperature. We will continue to update the member federation.”

Saud Abdul Ghani, professor at the College of Engineering at Qatar University, said, “It will be the safest event for the IAAF. We can control the air and control how cool it can be. We can make the air dry, wet and cool. We put this as a legacy for the while world to learn from this experience.”

Ghani played a key role in developing the cooling system.

Qatar’s star 400m hurdler and 2018 Asian Games Champion Abderrahman Samba gave a thumbs up to the new technology.

“During practice I had felt the strong wind but when it is blocked during the competition, there was no wind, just perfect for the competitions,” he said.

Abderrahman, promising woman sprinter Mariam Farid, along with officials and sponsors attended the unveiling.

In another innovative first for the Worlds, the colour chosen for the track is pink. The ticketing programme was also unveiled with sales to begin from November. The tickets would be available in the range from Euro 14 to 70.

“To have such an ambition requires innovative, creative and bold thinking. That is why an exciting new schedule exists with new formats and this stadium has cooling technology.

“We want our young athletes and our local community to experience it live for themselves. That’s why we will introduce a midnight marathon. All these developments take imagination but stem from a single goal of enhancing athletics worldwide,” said Dahlan.

Talking about the first ever night marathon at the Worlds, Dahlan said, “It is going to be in corniche. We have set the map, there will be several laps and we will finish in middle of corniche where you can see the beautiful skyline.”