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Drama in mid-flight

Not many people know this, but the man widely credited as key to convincing FIFA of Qatar’s ability to guarantee player and spectator comfort in peak summer, during its bid process to host the 2022 World Cup is a soft-spoken, Egypt-born MEP engineer by name Ahmed Omer.

| | Jul 30, 2011 | 10:20 am
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B Surendar

B Surendar

Not many people know this, but the man widely credited as key to convincing FIFA of Qatar’s ability to guarantee player and spectator comfort in peak summer, during its bid process to host the 2022 World Cup is a soft-spoken, Egypt-born MEP engineer by name Ahmed Omer.

On December 2, 2010, Ahmed was on an Emirates flight from Bengaluru (formerly Bangalore), the capital of the southern Indian state of Karnataka, to Dubai, when his wife called him. “Congrats, Qatar has won the bid,” she said. Ahmed’s first reaction was one of skepticism. “I thought she was joking, because on the morning of the announcement, a report released by FIFA had evaluated Qatar as ‘High Risk’, and I was sure Qatar would not win,” he said. A moment later, though, a friend called with the same message. Even then, Ahmed wondered if it could really be true, or was it a case of his wife and his friend coordinating with each other to play a prank on him. But soon enough, people in the government started calling and sending SMSes to him. A regular deluge it became. The fact that Emirates Airline had the facility for passengers to receive phone calls and SMSes, went against him – by the time the flight landed, Ahmed had quickly racked up a telephone bill in excess of AED 6,000.

Sitting in his high-rise office in Dubai, Ahmed remembers that eventful December day as the start of something big. The technology to cool the stadia, he believes, is firmly in place and, contrary to opinion, is very much within the fold of sustainable development. For him, it is only a matter of time before he can demonstrate the transformation of design to reality. At the time of speaking to Climate Control Middle East, though, he is acutely aware of the churn in FIFA regarding Qatar. At the time of going to press, neither do we know how events will unfold. But that has not stopped us from bringing to you a new supplement, 2022, in which Ahmed explains in detail the technology he presented to FIFA, and in which he has made much recent progress.

This issue is also home to the concluding part of an article, which elaborates on the need to benchmark existing green building projects in the region, and shares the results of four LEED-rated buildings. The article, we believe, is a first of its kind for the region; as such, we hope it gives you plenty to ponder over. Happy reading! And do write in your observations to surendar@cpi-industry.com.

B Surendar


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