Qatar has won the right to stage another major global sporting event after being picked to host the 2016 World Road Cycling Championships.
The International Cycling Union has announced that the Gulf state beat a rival bid by Norway to hold the event.
The Italian city of Florence will host the next edition of the event in 2013, followed by Ponferrada in Spain in 2014 and then the US city of Richmond in 2015.
Sheikh Saoud Bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, secretary general of the Qatar Olympic Committee, said the award "will strengthen the reputation of the country as an international sport destination".
He said: “We are proud of the confidence placed in the State of Qatar”, adding that the country would be the first Middle East country to host such an important cycling event.
He also praised the work done by the bid team.
Sheikh Khalid Bin Ali Al Thani, president of the Qatar Cycling Federation, said that Qatar winning the right to organise the cycling event in 2016 was the result of "great and continuous efforts by the officials in charge of sport in the country at the highest level".
He added that the experience of organising the annual Tour of Qatar for 11 years helped win the world event which will involve more than 1,700 athletes representing overn 85 countries.
The cycling event is the latest major sporting event to be won by Qatar after being chosen for the FINA World Swimming Championships in 2014, the IHF Handball World Championships for men in 2015, and the FIFA World Cup in 2022.