Doha's Aspire Dome, venue for the 2010 IAAF World Indoor Championships (Getty Images) © Copyright
General News

The Aspire Dome, centre stage for Doha 2010

In just 127 days, the athletics world will gather in Doha, Qatar, for the 13th IAAF World Indoor Championships, 12-14 March 2010. The centre piece for that gathering will be the Qatari capital’s Aspire Dome, the largest indoor sporting facility of its kind in the world.

Opened with much fanfare in the autumn of 2005 – among the dignitaries celebrating its opening were legendary football star Pelé, members representing more than 80 Olympic delegations and representatives of major sports federations including the IAAF – the sprawling facility covers an area of 120,000 square metres with a total seating capacity of 15,000.

The Aspire Dome, with its distinctive sloping roof, was designed by award winning French architect Roger Taillibert, who also helped create the Olympic Stadium in Montreal and the Parc des Princes Stadium in Paris, and took just two years to construct.

The facility is at the center of Doha’s Aspire Zone, a 250 hectare area established in 1995 to become a centre of excellence for sport, education and training. It is also the hub of the Aspire Academy, recognised internationally as one of the finest specialised sporting academies in the world. Its state-of-the-art training facilities and supporting infrastructure are among the most advanced in the world. Professional, junior and youth teams in several sports regularly use the facility as a regular training base. The Academy portion of the facility also includes several lecture halls and classrooms, laboratories, dormitories, a library, amphitheatre and a medical center.

While the athletics world will focus its attention on the facility’s state-of-the-art 200m track, the Aspire Dome contains 13 individual sport arenas in all. There is an Olympic-size swimming pool and diving area, a full-sized FIFA standard football pitch, 11 tennis courts, a gymnastics hall, 13 table tennis courts, eight fencing strips, two squash courts and a judo and karate studio.

Shortly after its opening, The Aspire Dome was a key venue for the 2006 Asian Games, and has since hosted more than 50 international and regional events. Among them were the 3rd Asian Indoor Athletics Championships in February of 2007, as well as events in conjunction with World Athletics Day in 2006 and 2007.

Bob Ramsak for the IAAF