Empty stands take the shine off IAAF World Championships in Doha

first_img Reuters DohaOctober 1, 2019UPDATED: October 1, 2019 10:05 IST More than half of the Khalifa Stadium was empty during the men’s 100m final (Reuters Photo)HIGHLIGHTSLow attendance has been cause of concern at Doha World ChampionshipsThe 48,000-capacity venue was barely half full for the men’s 100m finalThe public have also been absent from the road racesThe embarrassingly low attendance at the world athletics championships was blamed on late start times and a boycott of the country by other nations in the region by the event’s organisers on Monday.Athletes, pundits and global television audiences have widely criticised the poor turnout at the air-conditioned Khalifa Stadium over the first three days of competition.The 48,000-capacity venue was barely half full for the men’s 100 metres final on Saturday.On Sunday, when the women’s 100 metres headlined the action, it was almost completely empty and pole vault bronze medallist Ekaterini Stefanidi said it was the smallest crowd she had competed in front of this year, including at the Greek national championship.The absence of cheering fans meant the United States team who won the inaugural 4×400 metres mixed relay title on Sunday opted not to run a lap of honour and disappeared straight down the exit tunnel.The public have also been absent from the road races, held near the waterfront.However, there were considerably more fans in the stadium on Monday, including a noisy contingent of Ethiopian supporters, for a programme which included the men’s 5000 metres and 400 metres hurdles finals.There were also several groups of fans, each wearing identical shirts, dotted around the stadium which appeared to be slightly over half full.The local organising committee (LOC) said in a statement that attendances on Friday and Saturday were “solid” but were “down on our expectations” on Sunday, which they said “coincided with the start of the working week in Qatar”advertisement”The challenge we face with a competition schedule that is geared to support global TV viewership is that some finals are not starting until the late evening,” it said.”This impacts on the number of spectators remaining until the end of the session.”The LOC also suggested that local audiences were more interested in middle-distance races than sprint events and said it was “confident with our additional communications (that) we will see more attendees for longer periods”.It then mentioned the boycott imposed on Qatar by Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Egypt, who accuse the Gulf state of supporting terrorism, which it denies.”Our vision was for a first world championships in the Middle East. An IAAF World Athletics Championships that would welcome the world and connect to new fans. Despite facing unique challenges as hosts, in terms of the political (boycott), that ambition remains,” it said.The four boycotting nations have, however, sent athletes to Doha, and Bahrain won bronze in the 4×400 mixed relay.Stefandi disappointed, Gatlin, Shelly-Ann not concerned”It is disappointing,” said Stefanidi. “I was all for bringing the event to new areas, different environments like the Middle East too because we needed to promote the sport.”However, women’s 100 metres winner Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce was indifferent.”I actually did notice the stadium wasn’t full but it’s part of athletics,” the Jamaican said after Sunday’s race. “Doha got the rights to host the championship, you just have to give and take. I just wanted to put on a good performance focus, I tried not to focus on the crowd.”Justin Gatlin, silver medallist in the men’s 100 metres on Saturday, took a similar view, saying: “When we are on the track, I think it doesn’t matter whether there are 100 people watching or 100,000 people watching. We want to be able to put on a great show.”Also Read | IAAF World Championships: Annu Rani 1st Indian to reach finals of women’s javelin throwAlso See:For sports news, updates, live scores and cricket fixtures, log on to indiatoday.in/sports. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for Sports news, scores and updates.Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted byAkshay Ramesh Tags :Follow DohaFollow IAAF World ChampionshipsFollow Justin GatlinFollow Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce Next Empty stands take the shine off IAAF World Championships in DohaThe absence of cheering fans has left quite a few star athletes disappointed at IAAF World Championships in Doha. The United States team who won the inaugural 4×400 metres mixed relay title on Sunday opted not to run a lap of honour and disappeared straight down the exit tunnel.advertisementlast_img read more

BA says most flights running angry passengers face delays

by Jill Lawless, The Associated Press Posted May 28, 2017 6:21 am MDT Last Updated May 28, 2017 at 7:20 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email LONDON – British Airways said many of its IT systems were back up and running Sunday, but some travellers will likely face cancellations and delays for a third straight day after a global computer failure grounded hundreds of flights.BA chief executive Alex Cruz said Sunday the airline was running a “near-full operation” at London’s Gatwick Airport and planned to operate all scheduled long-haul services from Heathrow. But he said there would still be delays, as well as some cancelled short-haul flights.The airline said it will run a full schedule at Gatwick on Monday and intends to run its full long-haul flight schedule and a “high proportion” of its shorter flights at Heathrow.BA cancelled all flights from Heathrow and Gatwick Saturday after the IT outage, which it blamed on a power-supply problem. The glitch threw the plans of thousands of travellers into disarray, on what is a holiday weekend in Britain.BA operates hundreds of flights from Heathrow and Gatwick on a typical day — and both are major hubs for worldwide travel.Cruz apologized in a video statement, saying: “I know this has been a horrible time for customers.”Passengers faced hours-long lines to check in, reclaim lost luggage or rebook flights at Terminal 5, BA’s hub at Heathrow. Cruz said that to reduce overcrowding travellers will only be let into the terminal 90 minutes before their flights.Passengers — some of whom had spent the night at the airport — faced frustrating waits to learn if and when they could fly out.“Everyone is upset. There’s people in tears,” said Melanie Ware, who flew in from Los Angeles and was trying to get to Venice on her honeymoon.“We rebooked for Venice for tonight, which they also have cancelled now,” she told Sky News. “So we have no way of getting out of Heathrow and they haven’t compensated us for anything, and we’re stuck and this is the worst honeymoon ever.“British Airways has ruined our honeymoon.”Tonda Sallee, who was trying to fly to Frankfurt, said she has been in line for five hours, “and we have no idea how long we’ll be in line. The rest of the day I’m sure, and we probably won’t fly out today either.”Many passengers complained about a lack of information from the airline.“Some 80-year-old lady was standing around waiting for announcements, et cetera, and she fell over,” said Londoner Terry Page, who managed to get on one of the last flights from Heathrow to Dallas-Fort Worth on Saturday. He and other passengers arrived, but their luggage did not.“We helped her up and she said ‘I’m just so tired,’ ” Page said. “It’s been a terrible, terrible day.”While not that frequent, when airline outages do happen, the effects are widespread, high-profile and can hit travellers across the globe.BA passengers were hit with severe delays in July and September 2016 because of problems with the airline’s online check-in systems.In August 2016, Delta planes around the world were grounded when an electrical component failed and led to a shutdown of the transformer that provides power to the airline’s data centre. Delta said it lost $100 million in revenue as a result of the outage. Passengers stand at a British Airways check-in desk after the airport suffered an IT systems failure, at London”s Gatwick Airport, Saturday, May 27, 2017. British Airways canceled all flights from London’s Heathrow and Gatwick airports Saturday as a global IT failure caused severe disruption for travelers on a busy holiday weekend. (Gareth Fuller/PA via AP) BA says most flights running; angry passengers face delays read more