Sebastian Coe, President of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), gave an interview to Nemzeti Sport, during which he talked about, among other things, the World Athletics Championships which will be held in Budapest next year.
Coe said that after the coronavirus, things are finally back to normal for athletes, too. Besides the epidemic, they faced difficulties such as “confinement, lack of facilities, interrupted training schedules, or having to travel to warmer climates during winter.” Now, however, there are other difficulties.
The President believes that “over the next six to seven years, athletics will have a central role in the sporting calendar, particularly in the northern hemisphere, where it is most popular.” This means, according to him, that “with this comes difficult decisions for athletes, such as the pace of their training in the coming years, and the coaches have to find a balance because of the busy calendar if they do not want their athletes to burn out.”
Coe said that he visited Budapest three or four times in the past few years. He was also at the World Aquatics Championships. “It gave me the opportunity to see how another sport was organizing its world championships and to discuss further details with the organizing committee. I am pleased with the schedule and progress. I was probably formally the first person to run in the new stadium, and although the construction is still ongoing, it will be fantastic and the legacy of the athletics is very important,” he said.
Europe has always been one of the strongest bastions of athletics, the continent loves the sport, including Hungary, which has a very rich sporting history. You have hosted many major sports events, athletics competitions, and Budapest is a beautiful city, it has a lot of advantages to host it there. I hope that you will organize the best World Championships ever because I have always had my eyes on making the next Worlds better and raising the bar even higher.
That was the case in Doha after London, then in Eugene, and it will be the same in Budapest. The World Championships is always a benchmark for improvement, just as the athletes want to improve competition after competition,” Coe added.
Coe plans to reform and shorten the ten-day-long World Championships; however, he told Nemzeti Sport, that that will not affect the Budapest Championships. “We do not want to throw away our history, we do not want to ‘cannibalize’ the competition, but as president, I have to review everything again and again,” he said. He explained that “for the public, the young people, the athletes, and TV stations, ten days is a long time in light of the way the world and the flow of information and entertainment is changing.”
The full interview can be read here in English and here in Hungarian.
Featured image: Prime Minister Viktor Orbán receives Sebastian Coe, President of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), at the Carmelite Monastery on June 19, 2022. Photo by Vivien Cher Benko/MTI/Prime Minister’s Press Office