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The BBC's Katya Adler
"The toughest fight yet to host the Asian Games"
 real 56k

Vice president of the OCA Mohammed Latif Bhutt
says Qatar benefited from the split in votes for the two East Asian venues
 real 28k

Sunday, 12 November, 2000, 12:38 GMT
2006 Asian Games awarded to Doha
Qatar's delegation celebrates its victory
Qatar's delegation celebrates its victory
The Asian Games for the year 2006 have been awarded to Doha, the capital of the Gulf state of Qatar.

The Olympic Committee of Asia chose Doha in preference to Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur, which were regarded as front runners. New Delhi had also bid for the games.

The committee made its decision at a meeting in the South Korean city of Pusan, which will host the games in 2002.

Logo of 1998 Asian Games in Thailand
The 1998 games were staged in Thailand
Doha will be the first Arab city to stage the event.

The BBC correspondent in South Korea, Caroline Gluck, says this was the toughest fight yet to host the Asian Games.

Qatar has pledged to spend $700m to build an Olympic-style city to host the 10,000 athletes and several thousand officials who will be taking part.

With its population of around 100,000, it will become the first Arab country to host the competition.

Concerns had been expressed by some delegates about possible cultural problems of holding the Games in the strictly Muslim country.

But Doha's bid won the early and influential support of the president of the Olympic Council of Asia, Sheikh Hamad al-Fahd al-Sabah of Kuwait.

Much at stake

In the wake of the success of the Sydney Olympics, there was much at stake for the four competing cities.

Following the Sydney olympics, they have seen how staging a successful sporting tournament can bring international acclaim to a city.

Sponsorship and broadcasting brought in around $100m for the last Asian games;

In its bid, Kuala Lumpur had pointed to a track record gained by putting on the 1998 Commonwealth games and a Formula One Grand Prix.

Hong Kong despatched a high-powered delegation to try to convince the voting members of its case, led by the territory's second most-senior figure, the Chief Secretary, Anson Chan.

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See also:

06 Dec 98 | Asia-Pacific
Asian Games under way
11 Aug 00 | Middle East
Lebanon vows Asian Cup improvements
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