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Moscow Emerges as Strong Competitor for Games

Posted February. 23, 2007 06:49,   


The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) evaluation team will evaluate Daegu’s bid to host the World Athletics Championships in 2011 for three days starting February 22.

A month prior to the IAAF meeting in Mombasa, Kenya on March 27, Daegu is facing two variables that will influence its chances.

Daegu in competition with two bidding cities, not one–

Daegu is concerned about competing with the Russian government as Moscow recently emerged as a strong contender in the race to host the games, different from its initial projection that it would vie only with Brisbane, Australia.

Moscow wanted to host the championships in 2013. But it later advanced its timeframe to 2011 as the Russian government is pouring resources into hosting the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.

The Russian capital already has the experience of hosting big games, including the 2006 Indoor World Athletics Championships sponsored by the IAAF, as well as a larger stadium than Daegu. Moscow’s stadium can hold 81,000 people while the one in Daegu can accommodate 66,000. In addition, Russia is a world leading country in athletics and Moscow is closer to Europe than Daegu. Worse yet, the Russian government will get support from state-run companies, worrying Daegu, which has not selected any supporting companies yet.

Money Matters–

The World Athletic Championships, begun in 1983, have been held ten times but only two times in non-European countries: in Tokyo in 1991 and Edmonton, Canada in 2001.

Since then, the games have been held in Paris in 2003 and Helsinki, Finland in 2005. This year, the venue will be Osaka, Japan and will be held in Berlin, Germany in 2009. There appears to be a European/non-European rotation as far as host countries. The 2011 games will likely be held in a non-European country as a result although that is not confirmed yet.

A source said, “The IAAF may decide the hosting cities for both 2011 and 2013 in this meeting to give one of the hosting tickets to a city in Europe.”

The IAAF is aiming at securing television money and maximizing marketing through sponsorship deals with corporations. In short, it seeks money. That is why the association wants to host the games in Europe where it can attract many spectators and draw high viewer audiences at the same time.

The only way Daegu will become the host city is to show the association that it can win the IAAF as much profit as cities in Europe.

cavatina@donga.com yjongk@donga.com