Key man behind London 2012 believes UAE could stage Olympics
Andy Hunt, chairman of the British Olympics Association, believes there is no reason why the UAE couldn’t host an Olympics Games.
Along with Sebastien Coe, Hunt was credited with successfully organising the London Olympics in 2012.
There has long been talk of a potential Dubai Olympic bid and Hunt – along with former Olympic bronze medallist Sarah Winkless – said that given the growth of the UAE, such a proposition could prove viable.
“There’s no question about it,” said Hunt. “You see the infrastructure that they have put in place here, it’s phenomenal. Every time I come here it has moved on once again so I think there is no doubt the UAE could put together an incredible bid to host the games.
“Then there’s just the challenge of where the games are in the cycle around the world in terms what happens now with 2020, but yes I think they would put together a very credible bid.”
As witnessed with Qatar’s successful World Cup 2022 bid, there is the constant question mark over Middle Eastern countries hosting summer events due to the oppressive heat of the Gulf. But former rowing great Winkless doesn’t think a change of date would be unprecedented.
“We’ve seen the Sydney games taking part in September so we saw a slight movement,” she said. “Also, within smaller sports, the world championships, winter world championships and my own sport rowing, they happened in November, so it’s not unprecedented.
"The Olympic Games has to give every athlete who comes here the chance to do their personal best, the IOC is mindful of that.”
The two Brits were in Dubai on Sunday to receive awards at the Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Creative Sports Awards for their work in hosting the London Olympic Games.
Joining them on the rostrum was Ukrainian pole vaulting legend Sergey Bubka, who added that he feels a genuine UAE star athlete could help generate public interest in athletics.
“I think for any country it is very important to have great athletes to promote sports and promote a healthy lifestyle, to show idols for younger generations to help them follow sports,” said Bubka, winner of Olympic gold in Seoul in 1988.
“I think it’s important in general because the value of sport in society is very big, it plays a great role. You need the stars to highlight a better life for people.”