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Daegu bid inspection ends on high note

Feb 26,2007
Helmut Digel
“Daegu is really ready to host the World Championships,” Helmut Digel, leader of the inspection team from the International Association of Athletics Federation, told reporters at a news conference in Daegu on Saturday. His eight-member team completed two days of on-site inspections of the city that day, preparing to choose a host city for the 2011 World Championships in Athletics, a biennial track-and-field championship.
“Daegu gave us something very special, and we had a feeling that all these different institutions in the city and Korea are well coordinated and prepared,” said Mr. Digel, who serves as vice chairman of the IAAF.
Daegu, Korea’s fourth-largest city, is competing with Moscow and Brisbane, Australia to host the event.
The host city will be selected during an IAAF Council Meeting in Mombasa, Kenya, on March 27.
“Citizens and people of Korea are all supporting the bid of Daegu, I believe. It’s a very strong factor if we have to compare all these differences,” Mr. Digel said.
Mr. Digel said Daegu’s hot summer weather may create a problem for the championships, which will be held in August.
“Certainly there is a disadvantage if you host the championship in August when it will be hot and humid. That will be a challenge,” he said.
Mr. Digel praised the proposed main venue of the championship, Daegu World Cup Stadium.
“It’s excellent and there is no problem in technical aspects,” he said. “But you need national or local athletics heroes to show you’re ready to compete against the world’s best players.”
He cited as an example Lui Xiang, a Chinese Olympic gold medalist in the men’s 110-meter hurdles, who he said has become a national hero in his country.
“He is a role model of motivation for young people in China. He developed his talents with his coach. You need a role model for the World Championships in 2011. If so, I’m sure Korea will be an important nation in world athletics,” he said.
The evaluation team also praised the professionalism shown by Daegu’s bid committee.
“Here, we have seen a very strong, motivated, professional (bid committee) team with high quality that really touched me,” said another team member, Nawal El Moutawakel of Moroco. “I wish all the luck to Daegu.”
The team left South Korea yesterday after a day in Seoul.


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