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27 Jul 2018

IAAF breaks Japanese grip with Qatar National Bank sponsorship

The IAAF said today that it has signed a four-year deal with Qatar National Bank to become an official partner of track and field’s world governing body.

The partnership, announced on the occasion of an IAAF Council meeting in Buenos Aires, covers the annual top-tier IAAF World Athletics Series, including next year’s IAAF World Athletics Championships, which is being staged in Doha, Qatar’s capital.

QNB will also receive exposure at meetings of the annual Diamond League series.

Under the agreement, QNB will roll out a schools engagement programme in Qatar, focused on inspiring the next generation of Qataris to take up athletics and lead active healthy lifestyles.

QNB joins a list of IAAF partners, all Japanese companies, comprising: Asics, the sportswear company; Seiko, the watch company; and TDK, the audiovisual manufacturer. 

The IAAF said: “For QNB the important partnership will allow a strategic expansion of a company initiative to use sport and physical exercise as a vehicle for positive social change in the country and oversees.”

Sebastian Coe, the IAAF president, said: “As the number one global sport, bringing the emotion and excitement of athletics to new communities has always been the guiding principle of the IAAF and that’s why this announcement is so exciting. With the addition of QNB to the athletics family we now have a partner that shares our vision for the sport and has the reach to help inspire more people by sharing the stories of our talented athletes. The partnership will help us explore creative ways to make this ambition a reality, enhancing our sport at a local, regional and global level.”

In March, Olivier Gers resigned after just 17 months as chief executive of the IAAF, blaming the “pre-existing commercial framework” which, he said, “makes it difficult for me to apply my talents and fully leverage the assets of the IAAF in the way I would like.”

Meanwhile, Nairobi in Kenya has been confirmed as the host of the 2020 World U20 Championships.

The award builds on the city's staging of last year's World U18 Championships, which attracted crowds of up to 60,000 to the Moi International Sports Centre.

Coe praised the strong support of the Kenyan government for the bid, saying: "The U20 Championships showcase the future of our sport so Kenya, with a young and enthusiastic population and such a rich history in athletics, is a perfect fit for us. We hope that awarding these championships will further encouragement the development of athletics in Kenya and all over Africa, which is such a vibrant part of our international federation."