Daegu Becomes the Center of the Athletic World
The IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) World Championships Daegu will be held from August 27th to September 4th, 2011. Daegu was picked as the site of these Championships after winning a competition with other countries that were interested in hosting them like Spain, Australia, and Russia. We are going to take a closer look at the process of organizing these Championships and efforts many students and citizens are making to make them a success. We expect that there will possibly be many benefits as well as concerns that come from the IAAF World Championships Daegu 2011.
There were many reasons why Daegu was selected to host these games. One reason is that there is strong interest in restoring the popularity of athletic events in Asia. There was also very positive energy generated regarding athletics here after the Daegu Summer Universiade in 2003. Most importantly, Daegu was recommended as the best site to hold the Championships by Jacques Rogge, the head of the International Olympic Committee. In 2005, the IAAF World Championships Athletics Organizing Committee was established. On the 27th of March 2007, Daegu was selected as the host over other proposed sites like Brisbane, Barcelona, and Moscow. The scale of these Championships is very large. 213 countries in all and a total of 7,000 people (3,500 athletes and officers and 3,500 reporters) are planning to attend and participate. There will be a total of 47 contested events (24 men, 23 for women) as well as 2 events for disabled athletes (the men’s wheelchair 400m, and the women’s wheelchair 800m). The budget that has been allocated to prepare for these Championships totals 222,700,000,000 won and the construction budget for infrastructure totals 2,056,100,000,000 won. The largest marketing efforts for these Championships locally have come from volunteers and student publicity events. Student publicists come from 25
universities in Daegu and Gyeongbuk province. The Organizing Committee for the IAAF World Championships Daegu 2011 has been recruiting student publicists since January 2010, and there are now roughly 4,600 students involved. These students are engaged in three basic activities such as the press corps, cheering groups, and event publicity. They have publicized these Championships through many events such as the Colorful Daegu Festival, the YU Rock Festival, and others. Volunteers were recruited from March 2009 to February 2010, and the total number of volunteers is 6,133. There are many areas that people can still volunteer for including interpreting, guidance, and many others. Volunteers learn basic knowledge about the way to help foreigners who will visit Daegu. These Championships will have a powerful ripple effect that will impact several areas. According to DGI (Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute), the expected revenue generated by this event will be 5,587,600,000,000 won, and 62,841 jobs related to this event are expected to be created. It is also estimated that approximately 2,340,600,000,000 won will be generated in value added areas not directly related to the event. On top of these benefits, the reputation and
notoriety of Daegu as well as Korea will increase. The tourism industry will also be improved by introducing Korean culture to people from other countries. However, we shouldn't ignore the problems that need to be overcome. Hae-Nyoung Cho, Co-president of the World Championships Daegu 2011, has an ambitious goal to encourage the athletes of Daegu. As an incentive, 1,700,000,000 won will be awarded to athletes and the coaches of athletes who turn in good performances like gold, silver, or bronze medals. At this point, we must ask the question. “Are there any plans to promote athletic sports at all levels of participation in the future?” There are some plans being prepared by the Organizing Committee for the IAAF World Championship Daegu 2011. The Athletic Dream Team will be organized in 2011. 100 athletes will be selected, and their training will be sponsored. They will also be able to receive coaching from world class coaches from around the world. The committee has also made an effort to construct better facilities. They reconstructed the scoreboard and changed the track color from red to green to receive public certification from the IAAF. A few months ago the Colorful Daegu Pre-Championship Meeting was held. The news reported that the admission tickets for this event were sold out; however some people believe this is a false report, because almost all of the seats were empty. “Tickets were sold out but many people couldn’t sit in their own seats at the same time and most people didn’t come to the opening even though they bought tickets,” one committee member said. At that opening, many people felt inconvenienced by the traffic system. As a result, the committee is planning to operate free public transportation between subway stations and the main stadium during the events. They also plan to extend the running time of buses and the subway as well as constructing new roads that can access the stadium. As of right now the most important hot potato issue is how to best organize and utilize volunteers and student publicists. They are a very big part of these Championships, but their operations are very worrisome. One of the biggest problems is that the committee can’t cover the large scale of these operations. They need a program that can effectively lead and direct all of them. “Volunteers are working hard because of their spirit of service, so a large budget isn’t necessary. I think volunteering is meaningful, so we are planning to recruit more publicity volunteers,” one committee member said. The committee has been preparing steadily for the IAAF World Championships Daegu 2011 since 2005, and Daegu has also focused on these events. Many citizens are working hard for the success of these Championships including volunteers, university students, the public relations corps, and others. We expect to profit from this world class event, and hope that Daegu’s reputation will rise. However, we shouldn’t overlook the fact that failures are not unavoidable. We need to make sure all of the resources that have been committed are used effectively and efficiently and then hopefully Daegu can become a world class athletic city.