Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Timetable and mascot revealed for next year's IAAF World Track & Field Championships in Daegu...

At a press conference on Tuesday, the IAAF announced the release of the timetable for next year's world track & field championships in Daegu, Korea starting on August 27th, and ending September 4th.

The marathons begin the first and final days of competition (women August 27th, men September 4th) at 9 am, which could make it slightly more humid than the 2007 version in Osaka, which had a 7 am start.

In general, the morning sessions appear shorter, with the scheduled start time of the first event and the start of the final event hovering roughly at around 2 1/2 hours (now the number of heats/flights in the final event could drag events longer; see decathlon pole vault on day 2 which has a start time of 1:00 pm), making this a more fan-friendly meet.

One welcome addition to the meet is the rest day, which is now on day 5 of the competition. The last time a rest day was on the calendar at the world championships was in 1993 in Stuttgart. However, it is not a full rest day, as the women's 20 kilometer walk finals will be contested on August 31st.

Shorter, with more impact, the main evening sessions will feature only semi-finals and finals.

All main sessions will last less than 3 hours, and there will be a balanced number of finals across all days, with qualification rounds only in the morning sessions, and relays spread over more days.

At the core of the planning has been the requirement to improve the timing to better tell the story of each event at the IAAF World Championships.

“We are delighted to present this new look timetable for Daegu 2011,” commented IAAF President Lamine Diack. “It ushers in a new era for our sport, helping to meet the demands of a world in which Athletics must compete ever harder to attract, excite and retain the public’s interest in an increasingly diverse sports and entertainment market worldwide.”

“After a phenomenally successful edition of the IAAF World Championships in Berlin in 2009, for which we made changes to the competition’s presentation, it is vital for the long term popularity of our sport that we continue to adapt, while acknowledging the inherent strengths of Athletics which over the decades has provided the world with many of its most enduring sporting moments,” concluded President Diack.

To view the time schedule, please click here.

With April 14th a significant milestone for the local organizing committee, they unveiled the official mascot, which is based on the indigenous Korean dog breed, Sapsaree, according to the LOC's web site. This breed is known for its friendly personality, loyalty and intelligence.

The name literally translates into ‘Shovel’ (Sap) and ‘Misfortunes’ (Sal). The Sapsaree is from the Gyeongsan area – more specifically, Daegu – and is believed to bring good luck and fortune.

The mascot’s color scheme was developed from the ‘Colorful Daegu’ city brand and the happy facial features depict a warm welcome to Daegu.

You can read the local organizing committee's release here...

The big question--will it be able to upstage Berlino? We'll find out in 500 days!

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