By Duncan Mackay in Daegu

Qatar_flagAugust 26 - Doha tonight confirmed that is to launch a bid for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, meaning that five cities are set to be involved in the campaign.

It follows the announcement earlier today by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that they would Doha to host the event outside the desginated dates if they are successful.

The story was first broken by insidethegames.

Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) President Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani officially announced the bid after insidethegames' story.

Doha joins a field that already includes Istanbul, Madrid, Rome and Tokyo.

"In light of the decision of President [Jacques] Rogge and the IOC Executive Board, I am delighted to formally announce Doha's bid to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020," said Al-Thani.

"It is fitting that the dream of hosting the Games should come to the Middle East at this time; our bid can inspire peace and is a priority for our youthful region.

"Sport and Olympism together instil self-discipline, teamwork, drive and help teach all of us the means of achieving our personal goals.

"To simply have a chance to enter the bidding process is a step closer to realizing something very special for our nation, our region and the Olympic Movement.

"I wish to personally thank Jacques Rogge and the IOC for guiding us through and supporting the QOC in entering the bidding race without the disadvantage of dates.

"I look forward to working closely with the IOC and the wider Olympic Family hopefully all the way through to the IOC Session in Buenos Aires in September 2013 for what could be an historic moment for the Olympic Movement and the Middle East."

It raises the possibility of Qatar hosting both the Olympics and FIFA World Cup in the same cycle having already been awarded the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Doha had requested that if their bid was successful they would be allowed to host the Olympics between September 20 and October 20 to avoid the searing temperatures which, at its height, can average 106 degrees.

Four years ago, Doha's bid for 2016 was controversially cut from the short-list because their proposed dates were outside the window that the IOC had published.

They claimed that Rogge had led them to believe that they could host the Games outside the window, just as Sydney had done in 2000 when they started in September and finished in October.

The IOC changed the criteria for this contest and any cities who propose to hold the Games outside the normal Olympic window of between July 15 and August 31 had until July 29 to make their intentions known.

The QOC submitted a letter on July 28.

"We appreciate the understanding shown by the IOC and we have listened and learned from our 2016 attempt to bid for the Games," said Sheikh Saoud Bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, secretary general of QOC.

"We know that it is imperative that we guarantee ideal conditions for athletes, support staff, technicians and spectators, and ensure events are scheduled appropriately for all stakeholders and that is what we will do.

"We have also consulted all of the current Olympic sport International Federations and are pleased to have received a very favourable response to our proposed dates.

"This has been a fruitful journey, and we are pleased that the IOC has granted us permission to propose hosting the Games between September 20 and October 20."

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected] 

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