Readers Roundtable: Was Having the World Championships in Doha Really So Terrible?

The IAAF track and field championships in Doha wrapped yesterday, and while there were some amazing performances, much of the coverage has focused on Doha as a venue – calling it terrible for the sport and calling out IAAF for making a decision based only on money.

Much of the criticism has focused on the less-than well-attended events, which led to empty stands and cheerless victory laps. Others have called out the ridiculousness of hosting a marathon that begins at midnight to avoid the heat of the day, and where reportedly 41% of the field dropped out.

Yikes! Right?

But the other side of the coin is the IAAFโ€™s stated goal to bring track and field to parts of the world not traditionally known for these Olympic sports. And, sometimes, stadiums are empty and people have to do some special training to prepare for an championship location, like preparing to compete at altitude.

So, at the end of the day, was holding the championships in Doha really so bad as commentators made it out to be?

Ultrarunner, adventurer, academic, and feminist. Running Across the USA in 2021. I write about ultrarunning, adventuring, and the intersection of endurance athletics and life.

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