As images of athletics' second-biggest showcase are beamed around the world, cameras have been more focussed on the lack of spectators than the action on the track – a far cry from pledges of 'no empty seats' and a 'fantastic atmosphere' when Qatar bid for the event in 2011.
Contrast this with what's currently happening further east, in Japan, where another new host – this time, of the Rugby World Cup – has done everything right: full stadia, passionate crowds, huge local buy-in and no doubt, a lasting legacy. In other words, a perfect dress rehearsal for the Tokyo Olympics next year.
Back to Doha, and for the competitors, what could be the pinnacle of their career has been reduced to victory laps in front of close family members, a few stewards and, in recent days, bus-loads of migrant workers who have been given free tickets to boost crowd numbers.
Tragically, those athletes on victory laps are the lucky ones. Dozens haven't even made it to the finish line, instead being carried off for treatment as a result of having to compete in conditions and temperatures totally unsuitable for running.
This is so sad for the athletes and a terrible advert for World Athletics Championships. The consequence of putting a global event in a small country (3m) with no track record in the sport. All about the ?? ?? ?? https://t.co/2eIMHTpYRl— judy murray (@JudyMurray) September 30, 2019
As many disgusted observers have pointed out, this is what can happen when sporting events are pimped out to the highest bidder, where countries with no real local following are able to 'sports-wash' their reputation, so long as it boosts the coffers of the governing body.
Flimsy defences from IAAF CEO Jon Ridgeon and president Lord Coe have done little to justify this reputational catastrophe, with Olympic legend Michael Johnson saying (off air) of the latter: "The thing is… Seb, it’s like, you’re either ignorant, naïve, or full of shit. And he’s not ignorant or naïve."
What next for Qatar? Well, at least it isn't scheduled to be hosting any more big sporting events in the near future...
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