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Daegu bids for 2011 world athletics

If South Korian city Daegu hosts the World Athletics Championship, it will promote athletics in Asia.

india Updated: Dec 01, 2006 21:38 IST

The flagging sport of athletics would receive another welcome shot in the arm should the South Korean city of Daegu be named as host of the 2011 world championships, bid organisers said on Friday.

Daegu is bidding against the Australian city of Brisbane, Moscow, Valencia in Spain, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates and the United States to host the biannual nine-day athletics extravaganza.

And Yoo Chong-Ha, the president of the Daegu bid committee, believes athletics' governing body, the IAAF, could only profit from handing the city the chance to host the worlds, which attracts more than 3,000 top-class athletes competing in 46 disciplines.

"World championships have until now always been held in Europe except from once in Tokyo and once in Edmonton, Canada," Yoo told on the sidelines of the Asian Games on Friday.

"For world athletics to grow, the IAAF must look outside Europe. The sport is waning and it has reached the point where it must expand outside traditional borders.

"The 2007 worlds will be in Osaka, and the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. If Daegu were to host the 2011 worlds, it would be a good one-two-three punch for igniting the flame of sport in Asia, a region which makes up two-thirds of the world population.

"The future of the IAAF lies in children. For that reason and for athletics not only to survive but to prosper, the IAAF must take the seed out of Europe and plant it in Asia."

Daegu in September successfully hosted an international invitational athletics meeting, boosting its chances of winning what is considered a close-run bidding process between the Korean city, Brisbane and Moscow.

IAAF vice president Amadeo Francis said at the time the organisation also owed a debt of gratitude to South Korean member Rocky Park for dropping a bid for the 2007 championships to help ensure the meeting went to Osaka.

The IAAF's international technical officer Cesar Moreno Bravo, also speaking in September, said Daegu's experience and facilities made them favourite to win the vote.

"The two strongest bids are Daegu and Brisbane and Daegu's chances are very good," Bravo said at the time.

"Its stadium is not just impressive but very modern and it has the best facilities for the athletes. It is building a village for the athletes close to the stadium and that is a huge advantage.

"Daegu is bidding for the championships for the first time and for this city to host them will benefit not just Daegu or even Korea but the whole of Asia."

South Korea hosted the Asian Games in Seoul in 1986 and the summer Olympics in 1988 and co-hosted the football World Cup in 2002. Its alpine resort of Pyeongchang is bidding to host the 2014 winter Olympics.

Daegu purpose built a 65,000-seater stadium for the World Cup and successfully staged two matches in it.

"We already have the infrastructure. We have plans to build a new 9,000-room village for athletes and media," said Yoo, a former foreign minister and UN ambassador.

The host city of the 2011 championships will be decided by 28 IAAF council members meeting in Mombasa, Kenya in March 27, 2007.

The IAAF will also name the host city for the 2013 world championships at the Mombasa meeting.

"Brisbane and Moscow are our main rivals but the stakes are two," said Yoo.

The 2009 world championships will be in Berlin.

First Published: Dec 01, 2006 21:38 IST