Qatar’s iconic sports venue - The Khalifa International Stadium

  • 8 months   ago
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Iconic! This is one word that aptly describes Khalifa International Stadium’s soaring popularity when it comes to judging top sports venues across the globe.

The 48,000-seater stadium has seen it all in the last four decades and with its latest extensive redevelopment, Qatar’s best sports venue is set to host the 10-day 2019 World Athletics Championships starting this Friday.

From H E Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad Al Thani’s spectacular ride up a steep hill on the back of a horse to light up the 2006 Asian Games flame to Lionel Messi’s crazy dribbles during an international against Brazil in 2010 to popular Indian singer AR Rehman’s riveting three-hour musical performance earlier this year, Khalifa International Stadium has attracted fans by the thousands for every show it has hosted.

Some of the key events to be staged at this venue are the Asian Games (including the opening and closing ceremonies), the Gulf Cup and the AFC Asian Cup in 2011.

A little over two years ago, following careful redevelopment that cost millions of dollars, Khalifa International Stadium was officially inaugurated as a 2022 FIFA World Cup venue five years ahead of schedule with a match between Qatar football giants Al Sadd and Al Rayyan.

The Amir H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani was joined by FIFA President Gianni Infantino and scores of renowned football names to watch what was the Amir Cup final.  

“The Khalifa International Stadium is close to Qatari hearts and has seen some of Qatar’s biggest sporting occasions since 1976. It was therefore a fitting venue for the biggest match of Qatar’s football calendar, the 2017 Emir Cup final between Al Rayyan and Al Sadd. I’m glad the fans got to enjoy this event in such a magnificent, re-modeled stadium,” Qatar Football Association President Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa bin Ahmed Al Thani said at the time.

For Juan Pablo Sorin, who guided Argentina to the 1995 FIFA World Youth Cup title at the same venue, all roads in Qatar will lead to Khalifa International Stadium in 2022.

“I would love to re-visit the stadium where my career kicked off. A World Cup in Qatar will be unique in terms of the technology and the outstanding projects which the country builds to surprise the world,” Sorin said in 2017 when the Khalifa International Stadium was officially inaugurated as a World Cup venue. “I’d love to return to the stadium which is so special to me and my team-mates, to meet old friends again and come to watch the World Cup, and perhaps even see Argentina lift the trophy again in Qatar.”

With unparalleled cooling technology providing track and field fans luxury viewing of the action on a pink surface, the 2019 World Athletics Championships are another feather in Khalifa International Stadium’s cap. Some of the key features include a natural turf that can withstand the Qatari climate and the stadium’s cooling boosters that easily bring down the temperatures to 21 degrees Celsius or lower even if the mercury outside touches 40.

IAAF President Sebastian Coe last week said: “The technology at the Doha stadium is jaw-dropping. I’ve sat in the stadium, it’s been 38-40 degrees C outside and it’s 23. The technology for the athletes is going to be first class, the indoor warm-up facilities air-conditioned, the call areas also. Under our auspices (in Doha) we have the technology in the stadium where the athletes are probably going to be competing in perfect conditions.”

The Khalifa International Stadium is surrounded by Villaggio Mall, the Aspire Academy - the world’s largest indoor sports facility - Aspetar Sports Medicine Hospital, Qatar Women’s Sports Committee’s Indoor Hall - where the Media Center is housed for the athletics worlds - and the yet-to-be launched 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum.

Retired Bahrain football player Humood Sultan a couple of years ago said: “This stadium represents the past, the present and the future of Qatar. We grew up in this stadium. It is such a beautiful stadium.”

It sure is beautiful and in many ways like Wembley Stadium in London. Every cab driver knows the location of Khalifa International Stadium. The venue can be seen from around the city for its imposing overhead dual arches. You just can’t miss it, if you are in Doha.

Khalifa International Stadium – Stats and Facts

General features:

Capacity: Khalifa International Stadium has a capacity of 40,000 seats.

VIP Suites: Khalifa International Stadium will have 64 suites of varying sizes for different VIPs and companies.

Parking: 6,000 car spaces and 2,300 bus spaces.


Accessibility:Khalifa International Stadium has accessible parking spaces near its main entrances and includes drop-off zones as well as entrances and elevators to ensure people with disabilities are able to reach their seats easily and comfortably.

New facilities:

The recent renovation process included the construction of a sports museum (3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum), a multipurpose hall, VIP areas, and an area for shops, restaurants and a fitness centre.

The VIP suites include unique designs combining Qatar’s cultural heritage and elements of the modern architectural character of Doha.

Key features:

Innovative and environmentally friendly cooling technology has been installed at Khalifa International Stadium. The technology uses district cooling, air treatment and smart control systems to deliver an optimal environment for spectators and players alike. It is able to lower the temperate within the stadiums to 21 degrees Celsius when outdoor temperatures are around 40 degrees Celsius.

The technology distributes cooled air with the aim of cooling spectator stands, the field and decreasing the amount of hot air entering the stadium through its open roof. These units have been installed in specific locations around the stadium including the field, upper walls and stands of the stadium in accordance to various studies that were conducted during the design process.

Khalifa International Stadium focuses on sustainability as a key element in its design and operation and has achieved a four-star Global Sustainability Assessment System GSAS rating - making it one of the most sustainable stadiums in the region. To obtain GSAS certification, developers must employ leading sustainability practices in the design, construction and operation to minimise a building’s ecological footprint. Khalifa International Stadium’s cooling technology uses an energy recovery system to reduce energy consumption. In addition, the stadium features energy-efficient lighting systems and plumbing fixtures.

Khalifa International Stadium has been completely fitted with natural turf that can withstand the Qatari climate and has the highest resistance. The turf is a hybrid, with one developed by Oklahoma State University in the United States and the other developed locally. Planting it took nine months in Aspire Zone Foundation’s turf nursery until it reached 14mm in length and was ready to transport and install at the stadium, which has a total floor area of 7,848 square metres.

Khalifa International Stadium achieved a new world record for the returfing, completing the project in just 13.5 hours (European standard is 18 hours). More than 80 pieces of equipment and machines were involved in returfing the stadium, carrying 8,250 square metres of natural grass from the turf nursery, located 5-km away from the stadium, and was installed by more than 90 employees and workers. The process started at 5.00 AM on the 16th of April 2017.

In January 2018, the installation of a pink Mondotrack for the main and warm-up tracks at Khalifa International Stadium took place. When the world’s best athletes take the global stage at the IAAF World Championships Doha 2019, it will be on a Mondotrack WS surface and the first ever pink track. Further to the innovative look and feel of the colour, the surface is Greenguard Gold,
certified for its low VOC emissions