Empty Stands, Bored Spectators At 'Eerily Quiet' World Athletics Championships
The competition on the track has been amazing ... Not that any of the locals have noticed.
Whoever decided to hold the 2019 World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar should probably have tried to find out whether they'd get a crowd first.
Because they haven't.
Organisers have blamed the midweek schedule, as well as the start of many events around midnight local time -- which is ideal for the prime time European TV audience.
All the same, it's not a good look for the world's biggest track and field meet outside of the Olympics.
Even those who've made it trackside have not always been what you'd call highly engaged spectators.
Spectators appeared to be more interested in debating local affairs than cheering on the world's best athletes like Australian Kelsey-Lee Barber, who won the javelin.
Some commentators have called the atmosphere in the Khalifa International Stadium "eerily quiet".
Even big-ticket events like the men's 100 metres -- which for the record was won by American Christian Coleman in a sizzling time of 9.76 -- have been sparsely attended.
The stadium seats 40,000 people, but its capacity has been reduced to 21,000 for these championships, with the top half cordoned-off. It's still been barely a third full by most people's estimation.
Meanwhile, those fans who have turned up have been encouraged to applaud. Because apparently it's not obvious when you should do this.
Good luck hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Qatar. At least we know that football fans tend to travel more than athletics fans, so we should see at least a few more spectators.