In a special ceremony this morning in the City Hall, the Mayor of Helsinki Jussi Pajunen, was awarded the first ever "IAAF World City Award" in recognition of the extraordinary support that Helsinki has offered this 10th edition of the IAAF World Championships, but also of its contribution to world athletics ever since the 1952 Olympic Games. IAAF President Diack was also offered the Paavo Nurmi medal by IAAF Council Member and LOC Chairman Ilkka Kanerva.
The IAAF Council, meeting in the morning yesterday, welcomed new member Irena Szewinska, and did the customary review of the IAAF Congress and the IAAF World Championships from an organisational point of view. The main conclusion of the discussion was to offer warm congratulations to Kanerva, and to single out for special praise the Finnish public, who IAAF President Lamine Diack said were: "The best Athletics spectators in the world. In no other country of the world would the stadium remain full of enthusiastic fans during a heavy rain storm."
Council also discussed the next implementation steps for the new "IAAF World Athletics Tour" - which had been agreed at the last Council Meeting in Doha in April. Amongst the general principles that were agreed yesterday were:
To begin a new IAAF World Athletics Tour as soon as possible - containing meetings from every part of the world - and where athletes would score points enabling the best to qualify in a 36 event IAAF World Athletics Final, as the climax of the season. Council agreed that the basic aim of this World Athletics Tour (WAT) should be to create a strong brand for the IAAF one day permit meetings, by reducing the quantity (in 2004 there were 34 meetings) and focusing on quality. The WAT will have between 20 and a maximum of 25 meetings. Although all the details will be finalised over the coming weeks, it is likely that there will be two levels of meetings - with different scoring points for each - and that a system of promotion and relegation, as well as stringent evaluation procedures, will be used to guarantee quality. The current IAAF TDK Golden League will be incorporated into the top level of the WAT, and a new Jackpot system is being studied, with bonus winners being rewarded at the World Athletics Final, at the climax of the season.
Council also agreed, in an effort to enhance marketing possibilities in the sport, to amend the IAAF Advertising Regulations. Manufacturers have been given increased space for logos on athletes' competition apparel, with the new regulations coming into effect with immediate effect.