Local and international dignitaries, city leaders and members of the local organising committee gathered in Taicang, China, on Thursday (25) to mark 100 days to go to the start of the IAAF World Race Walking Team Championships Taicang 2018, which will take place on 5-6 May.
"It’s with pride and honour I stand before you on this historic day and I take this opportunity to Congratulate the mayor, the government officials and the people of this beautiful City of Taicang on the 100 day countdown of the IAAF World Race Walking Team Championships," said General Dahlan Al Hamad, President of the Asian Athletics Association and IAAF Vice President.
"In less than 100 days athletes from around the world will be present here in this beautiful city to witness your hospitality, professionalism and the high level of organisation. I wish you all the very best and I am positive this edition will be the best ever."
The local dignitaries in attendance included Mr. Li Pin, Deputy Director of Athletics Administrative Center, General Administration of Sport of the People's Republic of China; Mr. Chen Lei, Director of Competition Division, Athletics Administrative Center, General Administration of Sport of the PRC; Mr. Fu Weibo, Deputy Director of Competition Division, Athletics Administrative Center, General Administration of Sport of the PRC; Mr. Wang Weizhong, Deputy Director of Jiangsu Provincial Sports Bureau; Mr. Chen Xiaoping, Director of Competitions Administrative Center, Jiangsu Provincial Sports Bureau; Mr. Gu Xiaodong, member of Standing Committee of CPC Taicang Municipal Party Committee and the Executive Vice Mayor of Taicang Municipal Government; and Mr. Gu Jiankang, Vice Mayor of Taicang Municipal Government.
A similar gathering took place in Beijing three days earlier with men's 2012 Olympic 20km champion Chen Ding and Yang Jiayu, the 2017 world 20km champion, attending.
The eastern Chinese city is not new to hosting the world's best race walkers. In addition to its position as an annual fixture on the IAAF Race Walking Challenge, Taicang hosted the IAAF World Race Walking Cup, the predecessor of the World Race Walking Team Championships, in 2014.
The first day's programme features a men's and women's 50km race in the morning, and men's 10km and women's 20km races in the afternoon. A women's 10km and men's 20km are set for the morning of the second day.