OregonLive: Eugene makes its pitch

TrackTown USA president Vin Lananna, Olympic great Sebastian Coe and USA Track & Field CEO Max Siegel (left to right) pose for photographers on Monday. Coe headed the IAAF Evaluation Commission that spent two days examining Eugene's bid for the 2019 World Outdoor Track & Field Championships. (Ken Goe/The Oregonian)

EUGENE – The Eugene bid for the 2019 World Outdoor Track & Field Championships kicked into overdrive this week as local organizers made a two-day presentation to the visiting IAAF Evaluation Committee chaired by Olympic great Sebastian Coe.

The commission visit is a key step in the bid process.

Three cities – Barcelona, Doha and Eugene – are bidding for the 2019 World Championships.

The commission previously visited Barcelona, and heads next to Doha, the capital city of Qatar.

The three local organizing committees have seven days to address in writing any concerns raised during the commission visits.

The 10-member commission then will report to the governing IAAF Council on its findings.

Final presentations will be made and a decision is expected at an IAAF Council meeting on Nov. 18 in Monaco.

The World Outdoor Championships take place every other year. They never have been held in the U.S., a point Coe said Monday in a news conference at Matthew Knight Arena, had been driven home emphatically during the commission’s 48 hours in Eugene.

“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,” Coe said. “If I may say so that was probably the refrain for the previous two days. That probably was the underlying theme.”

Eugene would not seem to fit the profile of Barcelona or Doha, or other cities who staged the World Championships recently.

Included are Helsinki, Finland; Osaka, Japan; Berlin; Daegu, South Korea, and Moscow.

The World Championships are scheduled for Beijing in 2015 and London in 2017.

Eugene’s has sought to turn what could be a disadvantage into an advantage by promising a smaller, more intimate experience for athletes, with a full stadium, enthusiastic fans and unwavering local support.

Gov. John Kitzhaber met with the commission over dinner on Sunday night. Earlier on Sunday, commission members were greeted coming out of a meeting at the University of Oregon’s Ford Alumni Center by people wearing TrackTown t-shirts and chanting: “We want Worlds!”

Still, Hayward Field, which has a listed seating capacity of 10,500 in its current configuration, would need a substantial upgrade to meet the IAAF minimum of 30,000 seats.

Read Full Story on OregonLive.com