Qatar tonight launched its campaign for the 2030 Asian Games, a bid process set to see it go head-to-head with bitter rival Saudi Arabia.
Sheikh Joaan Bin Hamad Bin Khalifa, President of the Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) and the head of Doha 2030, unveiled a bid logo and slogan.
It is claimed they both "reflect Qatar’s combination of tradition and modernity and its commitment to hosting a magical Games with an enduring legacy for Asia".
Sheikh Joaan revealed the logo, which was reflected on to the Qatar National Museum tonight, and slogan, "Your Gateway", during a ceremony held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Our bid is born out of our strong belief that sport has the power to drive social change and foster peace and understanding," he said.
"The unique role sport can play in keeping us connected and inspiring hope has been so clearly demonstrated this year during the global pandemic.
"It has only strengthened our determination to use Doha 2030 as a gateway to a brighter future for Qatar and the Asian Olympic family.
"Building on the legacy of the Doha 2006 Asian Games, we want to deliver a sustainable, inspirational Games plan that provides certainty and an enduring legacy for Asian sport.
"We want to deliver an Asian Games that supports development throughout the continent and provides a platform that connects all nations and celebrates our peaceful diversity."
The logo has been designed to showcase the blend of Qatar’s heritage and outstanding natural scenery, with its vibrant, contemporary and diverse culture, officials in the gas-rich Gulf state claimed.
Doha is bidding to host the Asian Games for the second time, having previously staged them in 2006.
Qatar has hosted several top events in recent years, including last year’s World Athletics Championships and is due to be the first Arab country to stage the FIFA World Cup in 2022.
"We are confident that we offer the Olympic Council of Asia and its members certainty because all of the permanent venues we need to host the 2030 Asian Games are already built," Jassim Rashid Al-Buenain, secretary general of the QOC, who has been appointed chief executive of Doha 2030, said.
"Our infrastructure is ready to host Asia and the world.
"We have a proven track-record in delivering world-class events to the very-highest standards.
"And we can deliver a world-class Asian Games that set a sustainable blueprint for future bids.
"At a time of great uncertainty, Qatar is ready to deliver the excellence Asia deserves in the sustainable, risk free way that it needs."
Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh is Doha’s only rival.
It is an intriguing contest as the Middle Eastern nations, which share a border, are locked in a diplomatic crisis.
Saudi Arabia led a blockade of Qatar in 2017, with the country accusing Doha of supporting terrorism.
The country was joined by others including the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt in severing diplomatic relations with Qatar.
Saudi Arabia has never staged the Asian Games but is now a regular contender for major events as sport is a key part of the long-term blueprint for the country.
The rivals are also among the nations bidding for the Asian Football Confederation's 2027 Asian Cup.
Both Qatar and Saudi Arabia have faced international criticism for alleged human rights abuses.
Amnesty International has called for the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) to ensure both bids are assessed to identify potential risks.
"Doha 2030 will be a festival of our continent’s rich and vibrant cultures and a commemoration of our unity through sport," Sheikha Asma Al-Thani, the QOC marketing and communications director said.
"It will be a Games that build on and champions the significant advancements that have been made in Qatar in promoting gender equality.
"And it will be a Games that welcomes and respects people of all genders, races and cultures."
At the most recent Asian Games, in Jakarta and Palembang in Indonesia in 2018, 11,300 athletes from 45 National Olympic Committees took part in 465 events and 40 sports.
Hangzhou in China is due to host the 2022 Games while the 2026 edition is scheduled for Aichi-Nagoya in Japan.
The OCA has asked both countries to submit their bid files by October 4, with a decision due in November.