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Qatar interested in bidding for Olympics

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Qatar wants to bring the Olympics to the Middle East for the first time.

Qatar’s National Olympic Committee took an initial step ahead of a potential bid process, requesting to join the non-committal dialogue phase with the International Olympic Committee to host an Olympics and Paralympics as early as 2032.

The 2024 and 2028 Olympics were previously awarded to Paris and Los Angeles. Olympic hosts are typically determined seven years in advance by IOC members vote, putting the 2032 race in the very early stages.

“The Olympic rings are a symbol of peace, unity and hope for people around the world, including the people of our region,” Qatar’s Olympic committee said in a press release. “Today’s announcement marks the beginning of a meaningful dialogue with the IOC’s Future Host Commission to explore our interest further and identify how the Olympic Games can support Qatar’s long-term development goals.”

An interest in bidding for the Olympics comes as Qatar continues to face corruption allegations over how it won the rights to host the World Cup in a FIFA vote in December 2010.

In April, American prosecutors revealed new details of alleged bribes paid to FIFA executive committee members to gain their votes.

An earlier FIFA investigation found some of Qatar’s conduct “may not have met the standards” required by FIFA but concluded there was no “evidence of any improper activity by the bid team.” Qatar has denied any wrongdoing.

Qatar bid for the Olympics for 2016 and for 2020 with its capital of Doha, but both times it was eliminated before the voting phase. It recently hosted world championships in swimming (short course, 2014), gymnastics (2018) and track and field (2019).

Other nations to express interest in hosting the 2032 Olympics are Australia, Egypt and a joint North-South Korean effort.

FIFA had to move the World Cup from its usual June-July slot to November-December 2022 due to the desert country’s fierce summer heat.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

MORE: 2032 Olympic bidding news

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New evidence of payments over Qatar’s bid for 2017 World Track and Field Championships

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PARIS (AP) — Le Monde newspaper said it obtained documents showing that a former IAAF official received two payments totaling about $3.5 million from Qatari investors before the vote for the 2017 athletics world championships.

The newspaper claimed Friday that two payments from Oryx Qatar Sports Investments (QSI), an investment fund linked to the Qatari government, were made to Pamodzi Sports Marketing in October and November 2011, days before the vote.

Pamodzi is held by Papa Massata Diack, a former marketing consultant at the IAAF who has been banned for allegations of extorting hundreds of thousands of dollars from a Russian marathon runner to avoid a doping ban before the 2012 Olympics.

Qatar eventually lost out to London but was later awarded the 2019 Worlds.

Papa Massata Diack is the son of former IAAF president Lamine Diack. Interpol has issued a global notice for his arrest in connection with a separate French corruption investigation that also implicates his father.

According to Le Monde, which claims the documents were gathered by U.S tax authorities, a bank transfer of nearly $3 million was made to Pamodzi on Oct. 13, 2011, with another nearing $500,000 sent on Nov. 7, four days before London won the vote.

In an email to The Associated Press, the IAAF declined to comment since the case is currently being investigated.

Papa Massata Diack is also at the center of a French investigation into possible corruption in the bidding for the 2016 and 2020 Olympics.

MORE: Two U.S. track and field athletes in line for Olympic medals after DQs

Things Mutaz Barshim could jump over (photos)

Mutaz Barshim
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Qatar’s Mutaz Barshim has been the best high jumper in the greatest year in high jump history.

The Olympic bronze medalist and World silver medalist capped his campaign by becoming the second-highest jumper of all time in Brussels last week.

Barshim cleared 2.43m, or about 8 feet. He then took three attempts at a new world record of 2.46m but failed to clear the bar. Cuban Javier Sotomayor‘s record of 2.45m, set in 1993, lived to see another day.

Barshim may not have achieved the ultimate goal, but he did spawn a social media craze called #ThingsBarshimCouldJumpOver. Here are a few of the best.

https://twitter.com/TheSchmenk/status/509878758614921217/

https://twitter.com/Diamond_League/status/510425321112621056/

https://twitter.com/KristianBackman/status/510439276073730048/

https://twitter.com/MJLaLa/status/510436251405537282/

https://twitter.com/heeRobin/status/510381090910273536/

https://twitter.com/VDronsfield/status/510430239806459904/

World record holder Wilson Kipsang enters New York City Marathon