QATAR’S proficiency in flawlessly hosting top events came in for special praise from international fencing federation (FIE) Executive Committee Member Velichka Hristeva, who said the country had excellent infrastructure in place to bid for the 2019 World Championships.

“Doha has excellent facilities, the one at Aspire Dome being a good example. Besides, Qatar has rich experience having been hosting the Grand Prix over the years since 2003. I think the country should bid for the 2019 World Championships,” Hristeva told Doha Stadium Plus on the sidelines of three-day FIE Epee Grand Prix last week.

“I’ve seen its previous editions. It’s getting better and better. As far as organisational aspects are concerned, I’m confident the Worlds in Doha would be one of the best,” she said.

The men’s and women’s Grand Prix is held in nine cities across the world in a year.

While Doha, Budapest (Hungary) and Bogota (Colombia) host epee events, Turin (Italy), California (the US) and Shanghai (China) organise foil competitions. Cancun (Mexico), Seoul (South Korea) and Moscow (Russia) feature sabre.

“Fencing is dominated by Europe. There’s a large number of events being held around the year. Other continents, including Asia, are coming up. That’s a good sign for the sport’s development,” said Hristeva, who also heads the Bulgarian Fencing Federation.

Asked how the FIE has gained by selecting Doha as one of the Grand Prix hosts, she said, “Its location is just perfect. Qatar has organised top events including world championships in other sports in recent years. FIE picked the Qatari capital because it wants to make the city a centre point of fencing activities.

“The international body wants to promote the sport in the Arab region. Doha is a perfect city to host such an important competition. We’ve received plaudits from competing nations and top fencers,” added Hristeva.

Doha first hosted the Grand Prix in 2003, three years after the Qatar Fencing Federation (QFF) was formed.

Meanwhile, QFF President Saleh Amer Al Hemaidi said it was overwhelmed.

“We aren’t sure whether we would bid for the World Championships. We’ll take a decision after having discussions with higher authorities and Qatar Olympic Committee officials. But if we ever host it, we’ll deliver the best,” said Al Hemaidi. 

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