Inside the Games: Eugene’s bid draws praise

Sebastian Coe (centre) has praised Eugene's bid to host the 2019 IAAF World Championships but warned they faced "operational" challenges ©TrackTown USA

Sebastian Coe has admitted it would be a big moment in the sport’s history if Eugene wins its bid to host the 2019 International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).  

The former double Olympic 1500 metres champion, head of the IAAF Evaluation Commission that is visiting all three of the cities bidding for the Championships, praised the American city’s bid following the two-day inspection visit.

“We are delighted that Eugene has thrown its hat in the ring for this,” said Coe, vice-president of the IAAF. 

“This is a community that understands track and field. 

“A large part of your history is the history of our sport internationally.”

The United States is the most successful country in the history of the IAAF World Championships since it was launched in 1983, having won a total of 300 medals, including 138 gold.

But it has never staged the Championships.

TrackTown USA, the organisation behind the 2008 and 2012 US Olympic Trials at Hayward Field, as well as the World Junior Championships last summer, are leading the Eugene bid, along with USA Track & Field.

At one stage the 10-member Commission, which also includes Canada’s Abigail Hoffman and Japan’s Katsuyuki Tanaka, members of the IAAF Council, were greeted in Eugene by local youngsters wearing TrackTown tee-shirts and chanting: “We want Worlds!”

Fans of the Oregon Ducks, the University of Oregon’s American football team, also unfurled a banner at a recent match urging “#VOTE TRACKTOWN”

“Clearly, it would be a big moment for a city to stage a games that has never held them before in a country that has never held them before,” said Coe, former chairman of London 2012. 

“If I may say so, that was probably the refrain for the previous two days. 

“I don’t think any of us are leaving here in any doubt about the seriousness that you take these Championships.”

Fans of the Oregon Ducks, the University of Oregon's American football team, have shown their support for Eugene's bid for the 2019 IAAF World Championships ©TrackTown USA
Fans of the Oregon Ducks, the University of Oregon’s American football team, have shown their support for Eugene’s bid for the 2019 IAAF World Championships ©TrackTown USA

Under Eugene’s proposal, the Championships would be staged at Hayward Field with the size of the stadium being temporarily increased from its current capacity of 10,500 to 30,000, the minimum size stipulated by the IAAF.

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