2 September 2007
At the final IAAF / LOC Press Conference of the 11th IAAF World Championships in Athletics, held in Nagai Stadium before the final session of competition, IAAF President Lamine Diack was joined by Mayor of Osaka City Junich Seki, and IAAF General Secretary Pierre Weiss.
The President of the IAAF gave the following address:
I am very proud that we gathered together in Osaka, 200 countries from every corner of the world. 1978 athletes, 928 women and 1050 men, shared a common goal of becoming the best, and the level of performances we have seen has been simply phenomenal. Best of all, I believe that we have had so much excellent competition and close finishes, that TV viewers all over the world have been able to taste the drama and excitement of top class athletics.
The continued progress made by our sport on the road to universality, can also be judged by the spread of medals. After Japan’s bronze medal this morning in the women’s marathon, we now have 42 countries who have won medals here in Osaka with 60 countries placing in the finals * [see Note below] – Although the domination of nations with powerful resources is still significant, the beauty of our sport means that a talented athlete can emerge from anywhere. Here in Osaka, I am delighted that smaller nations like Panama, Tunisia, Dominican Republic, New Zealand and Slovenia have climbed onto the podium alongside athletes from the “great powers” like the USA and Russia, and that Kenya was able to end up second on the medal table.
We had been concerned about the hot weather, but we make sure that the medical teams were well prepared and that our athletes are aware of what they can expect. But in the end, just as was the case with the cold and rain in Helsinki, our athletes always give their best, accepting that the weather is the same for all of them, and that, in the end, the best athlete will still win.
In terms of TV ratings, although we do not have the final figures yet and a precise analysis needs to be made of them, I can say that TBS, our host broadcaster, has achieved a record level of coverage and some extremely high ratings, especially for key events such as the 100m finals and the Men’s Hammer. I am also certain that ratings for the women’s marathon this morning will break all previous records. Outside Japan, we had close to 180 territories with more than 85% terrestrial coverage which is the best promotion possible for our sport. Despite the time difference with Japan, figures so far have been very strong in Europe, particularly in France, Germany and Scandinavia. In sub-Saharan Africa, we have a record of 39 out of 43 territories broadcasting live but we are also pleased with the ratings we have received so far from the USA, where our championships are now back on NBC.
The credibility of our great sport depends on our determination to fight doping with all the resources at our disposal. For this reason I am pleased to announce that, with the support of the Japanese Anti-doping agency, we have been able to carry out the most comprehensive testing programme in the history of these championships. We have also carried out an anti-doping education programme – our “Outreach Programme” with the support of IAAF ambassadors like Mike Powell, Frank Fredericks and Marie-Jose Perec – since it is essential that we manage to convince our athletes that you CAN reach the top without doping.
In terms of the programme itself – as at the end of last night, I am pleased that we have tested 926 athletes with a total of 1060 controls (550 urine and 510 blood tests). This includes pre-competition tests dating back to August 20. I have just been informed that we do have one adverse finding, but we will not be able to confirm either the name or nationality of the athlete as we are still in an early stage of the process. We should be able to make an official announcement by next week.
Finally, I would like to say a special thank you to a group of people who are often forgotten, but without whom, the Championships could not work. Here in Osaka, we have had a wonderful experience with the volunteers, who have given us the best of Japanese hospitality. Thanks to all of them.
** NOTE: After the final session was completed the final figures were: 46 countries won at least one medal, 22 won at least one gold and 64 countries placed in the finals.