8 May 2018

Botswana: Athletics Body Annouces New Look for 2019 Games

Gaborone — International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) and the Doha 2019 World Championships Local Organising Committee has announced a new look for the games to be hosted by Qatar in September next year.

A revamped competition schedule shows the removal of all morning sessions and the introduction of split evening sessions with one-hour intervals incorporated into each session to combine entertainment and family-centered activities with the excitement of competitive action.

The revamped competitions will include the IAAF World Championships' first-ever midnight marathon.

Speaking in an interview recently, IAAF president, Sebastian Coe said finding ways of bringing the emotion and appeal of athletics to the local community and the region had always been one of Doha's ambitions for hosting the IAAF World Championships.

"Both our teams have explored creative ways to meet this ambition, bringing together sport expertise and cultural knowledge in a new and entertaining way," he said.

Coe said it was exciting to see the way the world championships were being developed and adapted to the host country and region mixing world class competition with an ambitious entertainment and engagement plan.

"We have some great World Championship firsts as well. The first 4x400m mixed relay will have its global debut ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, the first midnight marathon, the evening sessions with semi-finals and finals only and dedicated slots in the timetable for the final stages of field events allowing full focus on the decisive and most thrilling moments and attempts," he said.

Botswana Athletics Association (BAA) has welcomed the innovation as a step in the right direction.

BAA vice-president Kenneth Kikwe said in an interview that they were happy the athletics events would take place at night adding Botswana had not been comfortable with afternoon events.

Normally in some parts of the Middle East, daytime weather was not conducive for athletes, he said adding with the initiative, athletes would be able to showcase their talent without the discomfort of the weather.

On mixed relays, Kikwe said Botswana stood to benefit given that the country had strong 400 metres in both women and men categories.

"With the mixed relay, well it's a good development. It will help us where we fall short, and in a situation whereby we don't have good female athletes, we can always send two females rather than not sending anyone. Imagine if we can have Christine Botlogetswe, Amantle Montsho, Baboloki Thebe and Isaac Makwala in our mixed relay team, obviously we can bring a medal," he said.

Meanwhile, Coe has revealed that progress had been made with the completion of the renovation of Khalifa International Stadium, which had been transformed into one of the most technologically advanced stadiums in the world.

He said the Global Sustainability Assessment System (GSAS) certified stadium boasts LED lighting, digital floodlights and air-conditioning technology that would provide optimal conditions for athletes, spectators, officials and media.

Coe further said Qatar had been hosting international athletics events for over 21 years from the first-ever IAAF Grand Prix in 1997, which later became the Doha Diamond League in 2010 and this year is celebrating its ninth edition, in addition to the 2010 IAAF World Indoor Championships.

A local organising committee official and IAAF vice president, Dahlan Al Hamad, said they were on track for IAAF Doha 2019 adding that they looked forward to combining their passion for athletics and experience and knowledge of hosting major athletics events.

"We are very excited to unveil, in partnership with the IAAF, the new competition schedule and night marathon format today. These will enable us to showcase the sport like never seen before, capturing the attention of young people in Qatar and around the world and connecting them to the contagious excitement of athletics," he said.

Source : BOPA

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