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Peter Cooper is the editor and publisher of the ArabianMoney Investment Newsletter and website. He was formerly a partner in, sold in a private equity deal in 1996. His book 'Opportunity Dubai: Making a Fortune in the Middle East' was a best seller, and his latest... More
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Dubai Sabbatical: The Road to $5,000 Gold
  • Dubai Olympics 2020? 0 comments
    Jul 2, 2009 12:15 AM

     Dubai has formed Falcon and Associates to lead its bid for the 2020 Olympic Games, and will now have to prove that it can host the Greatest Show on Earth, or at least do a better job than rivals believed to include Cape Town, Delhi, Doha and Kuala Lumpur.

    One immediate problem for both Doha and Dubai is the hot summer weather. To overcome this is not a matter of air-conditioning but timing: the games will need to be shifted back to the autumn. This is not unprecedented but it has not been done in recent years.

    Keeping cool

    Some athletes wished that it had been done for the sweltering Beijing Olympics, and there is also an argument for shifting the timing for Delhi and Kuala Lumpur which are also not the coolest cities in mid-summer.

    After that it comes down to a straightforward competition for who would host the best games. Dubai certainly has more five-star accommodation that any of its rivals, and the new sports facilities in the Dubai Sports City could be easily enhanced to hold this event.

    This is also a city on the rise with the world’s tallest building due to open in September. By 2020 Dubai will be easily the largest and most modern city in the Oil States which have never hosted the Olympics before.

    Dubai is also a global media and financial hub, and the home to a vast number of nationalities who out-number the original inhabitants by more than twenty-to-one. The city is a multi-cultural melting pot and a beacon for what can be achieved by international team work.

    Rival cities

    By contrast Doha is the smaller player, while Cape Town has a poor record for violent crime; Delhi is rather a crowded place with less well developed infrastructure; and Kuala Lumpur is a national capital rather than an international city.

    There is no doubt then that Dubai can make an excellent case for holding the Olympic Games in 2020. But it will be a close fought battle and London only just clinched the 2012 event ahead of Paris, and perhaps lessons can be learnt from that bid.

    However, last week Abu Dhabi won the headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency, the first such global institution to be located in the Middle East, which shows that nothing is impossible for the UAE.

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