Monday, July 06, 2009

I really hope Dubai will host 2020 Olympic Games!

Do you remember SUKOM '98? Yes, the commonwealth Games hosted by KL and until now, the accounts have yet to be tabled and audited.

A good comment:-
I have learned two things in life. Never talk about money, and don't mention the Olympics in a pub in London. The anti-lobby was so great before they won the bid but it has gone feral and now it seems nobody ever supported the 2012 bid. Montreal is still paying for the folly, and Athens is pretending they were going to paint the place anyways. Sydney claims to have made some money, but never puts a figure on it. Dubai imports its sports, and there is no real local athletic or sporting culture, apart from robots on camels at the track. This fits in with the yesterday thinking of Dubai being spoken of only in superlatives. Doha failed completely to make a stamp with the Asian Games, so Dubai should look to something more realistic.
In the current situation, Dubai needs another boost to move forward to the greater heights. Olympic Games or football's World Cup would do some miracles as the downturns have some negative impacts on the developments as well as the image of Dubai.

Perhaps, time has come for Dubai to bid and plan for such events, nothing to lose, well, it shall have the ready world-class infrastructure by then......

Is Dubai ready for the Olympics?

Why does Dubai want to host the Olympic Games? It’s the first question on the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) questionnaire that they distribute to potential hosts when assessing their viability.

It will be the job of the Dubai 2020 committee to convince the Olympic delegation that there is common ground with their objectives.

There is more than one reason why any city would want to host the greatest sporting event on earth of course. The Olympics would provide huge benefits economically to the region.

State-owned companies such as Emirates Airlines, Jumeirah Group and Nakheel would be set for a significant windfall from the hosting and huge travelling support. It would also offer a global platform from which to showcase the attractions of the ‘Jewel in the Desert’ – as the marketing slogan goes.

The potential global audience of up to 4.3 billion people represents a significant marketing opportunity.
Great reasons and often the central motivating factors for hosting the Olympics, but the IOC will want to see more than that.

Such as: Where is Dubai’s sporting culture? Where are its leagues? Where are its sporting bodies? Where are its participants? Where are its champions?

The fact that the UAE is multicultural is great, and if Olympic participants who represent the Emirates originate from another country, that only reinforces the cultural fusion Dubai represents.

But surely the team should be a true reflection of the diversity of its country? An Arab nation without at least a handful of indigenous athletes, would do nothing but dissuade future generations of Arab children to choose sport over shopping malls or roof-down JBR cruising.

Nations as underdeveloped as Vietnam and as small as Liechtenstein have sporting legacies that tower above that of the UAE. They are to Dubai what the Burj Al Arab is to a desert dune… well not quite but you get the drift.

Building work may be on hold here but there is a great demand for the construction of a sporting culture; built on the legacy of iconic local sporting figures and with foundations deep enough to withstand the stern test of time.

While many countries would claim to be hemmed in by financial constraints, the money is not a problem in the UAE, or is it? Perhaps it is. The point about sporting participation is that it begins with opportunity and is sustained by passion. Very often – even as careers mature, money still comes second to global recognition or peer respect.

Arguments rage as to whether there is any direct correlation to the development of sport and the socio-economic status of a person, nation or sport, i.e. Is money a barrier to sporting success?

Take the situation in Britain, where the Department for Sport is considering reducing their significant investment into the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) after the poor performance of the team in this year’s Wimbledon Championships. Money can be as powerful a de-motivating factor as it is motivating.

Sport aside, there is so much more to the Olympic ethos than world records and gold medals. Sport is a celebration of human endeavour, a triumph of opportunity and testament to dedication. That’s why sport matters so much to so many. The Maseratis, Rolexs and Palm villas are simply a byproduct.

I think the Olympics are about openness and inclusiveness, even in the midst of mayhem and destruction. They are a showcase for tolerance, equality and cohesion. I’m not sure if Dubai is quite there yet.

"The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph, but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered, but to have fought well." - The Olympic message and the essence of the Olympic spirit.

Should Dubai fully embrace it, it could mark a seismic shift in the psyche of the nation. They just need to see past the money.

Damian Brandy is Editor of ITP's Middle East Cricket magazine.