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The Sporting Life

In Connecting the Dots on Monday, 7 April 2008 at 11:48

There’s no question that hosting the Olympics is a boon for international prestige. (As well as a cause for international controversy — just ask China.) Oil-rich countries in the Middle East are taking a break from scooping up trophy assets and troubled banks in the West and looking at the benefits of organized sport. Doha, the capital city of Gulf nation Qatar, is angling to host the Olympics in 2016; the country hosted the 2006 Asian Games and has already built an $8 billion athletic complex called Sports City. Across the Middle East, countries are using sports to boost national profile as they move away from economies based solely on oil — Abu Dhabi, for example, has constructed the largest permanent Formula One racetrack in the world. And Qatar is not alone in eyeing the 2016 games: Another emerging market, Brazil, is hoping to bring the games to the Southern Hemisphere.

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