The Korea Herald


‘Wonderful Preparations’ for IAAF World Championships

By 최현주

Published : June 2, 2011 - 15:48

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The 2011 IAAF World Championships are only four months away.

Since it won the bid to host the 2011 IAAF World Championships in March 2007, Daegu Metropolitan City has been making all-out efforts to prepare for the event over the past three years.

The Organizing Committee for the 2011 IAAF World Championships (hereafter Organizing Committee) has been preparing for the event with the support of related organizations, including the central government, Daegu Metropolitan City, and the Korea Association of Athletics Federation. As a result, the IAAF gave a good assessment of the preparations noting that they were progressing smoothly. Notably, members of the IAAF Executive Board, who conducted an inspection of the preparations for the Championships on May 13, expressed their deep satisfaction. In particular, they were amazed to see the transformation of Daegu Stadium from a World Cup soccer stadium to a sports facility dedicated to athletics.  

▶ Daegu Stadium turns into a top class athletics stadium

Armed with high-tech IT facilities and electronic signboards, Daegu Stadium is expected to demonstrate Korea’s reputation as an IT powerhouse. 

The lighting and audio systems at Daegu Stadium, the main facility for the event, have been drastically changed and replaced with the best of their kind in the world. The aged electronic signboards have been replaced with the latest ultra-large screen models, which can present divided sectional images. The sizes of the main screen (24.24 x 9.6m) and supplementary signboard (17.04 x 9.6m) have increased about 1.5 times from that of the existing ones, and the degree of their definition has also been significantly improved. The screens can present images divided into six sections.

As for the lighting facilities, the number of lights has been increased, while the lamps have been replaced with new ones to increase the level of luminance from 1,250 lux to 2250 lux. Audience members will now be able to enjoy nighttime athletic competitions in a facility as bright as day, while TV viewers will be able to see far more graphic, vivid images of the competition. 

As for audio, the audio mixers and amplifiers have been replaced, and the speaker systems have been reinforced, thus improving audio quality to a level that allows audience members to listen to classical music.

Notably, the track in the stadium was replaced with a Mondo track, as recommended by the IAAF, and completely refurbished last December. The Mondo track has been dubbed the “record breaker” as it significantly enhances athletes’ performance due to its high elasticity. The track comes in blue, which reportedly helps increase athletes’ concentration, and it generates a calming atmosphere in the stadium, while also easing the visual burden on TV viewers.

The repair and renovation of Daegu Stadium will provide athletes with the best facilities and optimum environment, and audience members with the most convenient viewing experience.

▶ Premium-Class Athletic Village

Apart from the main stadium for athletes, various auxiliary facilities, including the Athletics Village, Media Center, Athletics Village exercise camps, and media facilities, are also taking shape as planned. The Athletics Village and Media Center, under construction along the bank of the Geumho River, about a seven-minute drive from the main stadium, are being built by the Korea Land and Housing Corp. The project is 92 percent complete and finishing work is well underway. The Organizing Committee will take over the facilities in May and install various furniture, electronic appliances and gadgets prior to the opening of the facilities on August 20.

The Athletics Village will come equipped with computers with high-speed internet connections and TV sets in every single housing unit, as well as a Technical Information Center, registration center, religious facilities, and rest facilities. Also, diverse convenience facilities and amenities, including fitness clubs, a post office, bank, and noraebang (karaoke), will be refurbished to welcome athletes and delegations from across the world. The residential units in the Athletics Village will be sold to local residents after the event.  

▶Public’s enthusiastic attention and full support

The preparations of the hardware for the Championships are seamlessly coming to a conclusion in line with the developmental roadmap. During the remaining preparatory period, the organizers will focus on wrapping up the preparatory activities, including a thorough inspection of the elements of the preparations, thus eventually increasing the satisfaction of the participants at the event. Efforts are focusing on boosting systematic promotional activities capable of capturing the attention of the Korean public and people around the world. 

The Organizing Committee will step up its efforts to promote the event by mobilizing 6,133 volunteers in 11 categories, including translators, guides, for safety and competition assistance, and in various cultural events. Also, the IAAF World Championships Supporters, which will involve 17,000 people from civic groups, enterprises, and religious organizations, will root for different teams on certain days when  competition are held, introduce and promote the beauty of Korea and Daegu on their free days, and effectively serve as civilian diplomats. More than anything, there are looming signs of success for the IAAF World Championships’, including Daegu citizens’ strong commitment towards cultivating Daegu as a global city through this sports extravaganza. 

Daegu Mayor Kim Beom-il said, “The IAAF World Championships is one of the largest global events, and many star athletics will likely participate.” He added, “As the world will be paying attention to Daegu, let us make the Daegu event the most successful one ever and use it as a great opportunity to elevate Daegu to international city status.”