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London 2012 chief praises Daegu’s preparations

With just three days to go before the World Championships in Athletics kicks off in Daegu, a chief organizer of London Olympics has praised the Korean city’s preparations for the global event.

Sebastian Coe, Chairman of London 2012 Olympic Committee and also the Vice President of the International Association of Athletics Federations, arrived in Daegu on Tuesday to attend the biggest sporting event of the year.

“I’m delighted to be here. The preparations are very good, very high quality,” he told The Korea Herald in a telephone interview.
Sebastian Coe (center), chairman of London 2012 Olympic Committee and the vice president of the IAAF, runs with members of Daegu 2011 Sports Club on Tuesday at Daegu Citizen Stadium. (Yonhap News)
Sebastian Coe (center), chairman of London 2012 Olympic Committee and the vice president of the IAAF, runs with members of Daegu 2011 Sports Club on Tuesday at Daegu Citizen Stadium. (Yonhap News)

The 54-year-old Coe, a middle distance runner in his days as an athlete and a winner of four Olympic medals, including the 1,500 meters gold in the 1980 and 1984 Games, started off his schedule in Daegu by leading a series of training exercises at the Daegu Citizen’s Stadium, inviting more than 150 young athletes.

The training workshop, Coe said, was to promote athletics here.

“I have a commitment to make track and field strong by re-building it through the youths,” he added.

The double Olympic gold medalist insisted that athletics is a fundamental sport, which opens the doors to other disciplines.

“The physical skills and qualities of all sports find their base in track and field.”

The former Olympian said he was proud of the role models that athletics had produced for young people, including Usain Bolt of Jamaica, who is now in Daegu to defend his 100 meters and 200 meters titles, and urged more young people to embrace track and field sports.

“Sport is not just about winning gold medals. It can help young people deal with issues that affect their daily lives, their education, their safety, their confidence, their health,” he added.

Asked whether he was worried about the lack popularity of the sport here, Coe said: “That is why the World Championships is in Daegu.”

“We saw the impact that the 1988 Seoul Games had as a catalyst for the development of a vibrant sporting culture in South Korea, and in the wider Asia region,” he said, noting that he believes Daegu Worlds will inspire more young people to get involved in athletics.

“Daegu Organizing committee has done a lot of work to introduce track and field events to young people, and I believe Daegu Championships will leave great legacy,” he added.

By Oh Kyu-wook (596story@heraldcorp.com)
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