Sportech 2012, the international sport in technology conference, took place from May 8-9 this year in Doha in co-operation with ictQATAR, the governmental infrastructure arm of the Emirate.
Looking ahead to Qatar's hosting of the 2022 FIFA World Cup and Doha's bid for the 2020 Olympic Games, the conference examined all aspects of technology and technical infrastructure required to host major supporting events.
Speakers from a wide spectrum of sports spoke about the planning that goes into organising events of this magnitude as well as lessons learned from events passed, including the Asian Games held in Doha in 2006, the FIFA 2006 World Cup, Rugby World Cup 2011 and 2015, the London 2012 Summer Olympic Games, the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games and the 2012 Winter Youth Olympic Games, held this year for the first time in Innsbruck, Austria. Particular attention was paid to the exponential growth of social media and its associated opportunities and challenges.
On behalf of Ryder Cup Europe, Mark Lichtenhein, the European Tour's Head of Television, New Media and Technology, delivered an exposé of the enormous technological challenges of delivering an event on the scale of The Ryder Cup on a green field site, with minimal existing technical and telephony infrastructure, on such a short temporary basis.
In a subsequent panel debate with Chris Myers, General Manager of the Doha Golf Club and Event Manager for the Commercialbank Qatar Masters, Lichtenhein fielded questions from the audience about the growth of the game of golf throughout the Gulf and the role of The European Tour since it was first invited into the region in 1989 for the Dubai Desert Classic, before the inaugural Qatar Masters in 1998. With golf set to re-join the Olympic movement after London 2012 for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, the conference contemplated how Qatar can build on its strong golf foundations if its 2020 bid to host the games is successful - and the vision for the development of golf beyond.