Daegu Worlds to host record number of int’l athletes

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Daegu Worlds to host record number of int’l athletes

A record number of athletes will compete at the 13th World Championships in Athletics, the organizers of the event announced yesterday.

According to International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), and the local organizing committee, a total of 1,945 athletes from 202 countries will take a part in the Worlds which will run from this Saturday to Sept. 4 in Daegu, 300 kilometers (186 miles) southeast of Seoul.

Originally the organizing committee estimated that about 206 countries would bring roughly 2,500 athletes, but figures are still the highest in Worlds history.

The previous record for the number of athletes was 1,895 at the previous championships in Berlin, while the number of countries was 201 at the 1999 event in Sevilla, Spain.

Of the 212 IAAF members, North Korea, Andorra, Jordan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Nepal, Norfolk Island, Libya, Georgia and Montserrat will not send their athletes to Daegu.

The final entry for submissions for the event was last Tuesday and the organizing committee, headed by Cho Hae-nyoung, have been reviewing the list for the last six days to check athletes’ qualification records and drug testing histories.

The United States, which is looking to finish top of the medal table for the 10th time, has the largest delegation with 155 athletes.

Jamaica will be represented by 51 athletes including 100- and 200-meter world record holder Usain Bolt and one of his biggest rivals, Asafa Powell.

In Europe, Germany will send 78 athletes led by Betty Heidler, world record holder in the women’s hammer throw, while Britain will feature 58 athletes including defending champion in the men’s triple jump Phillips Idowu.

The committee said 38 countries, including Afghanistan and Albania, will send just one athlete.

Meanwhile, host nation Korea will be represented by 63 athletes (35 men and 25 women) and look for top 10 finishes in at least 10 events. Korea has never won a medal in Worlds history.

Only 21 Korean athletes have earned the right top participate by passing the standard record of the IAAF, but as a host nation Korea are allowed to send one athlete for each event.

Among the 47 events (24 for male and 23 for female), the 100-meter sprint draws the most athletes and this year a total of 179 sprinters will participate.


By Joo Kyung-don [kjoo@joongang.co.kr]

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