The concluding joint IAAF and Local Organising Committee (LOC) press conference at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 took place before the start of the last day of athletics in the Bird’s Nest stadium on Sunday (30).
Guests included IAAF President Lamine Diack, IAAF President elect Sebastian Coe, IAAF General Secretary Essar Gabriel, LOC Executive Chairman and Assistant Director of General Administration of Sport of China Gao Zhidan, LOC Deputy Chairman and Director of the Athletic Administration Centre of General Administration of Sport of China Du Zhaocai, and LOC Executive Secretary General and Vice Minister of Beijing Municipal Bureau of Sports Chen Jie.
Both IAAF President Diack and IAAF President elect Coe spoke to the media and below are some of the highlights.
“The IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 have been wonderful,” opened President Diack.
“We have celebrated an unforgettable nine days in the Bird’s Nest stadium, and also on the roads of Beijing, which has included one world record, four championship records, 14 2015 world-leading marks, 11 Area records and 87 national records (ahead of the start of the final session).
“No less than 1873 athletes from 207 countries have made Beijing the largest ever global gathering in world championships history.
“We have seen the stadium full each evening and had the best ever morning session audiences. Altogether around 700,000 spectators have visited the Bird’s Nest stadium this week. (Following the last evening session, the total figure was 681,864 including accredited personnel.)
“Apart from football, no other Olympic sport can attract that number of spectators to a stadium for its world championships.
“There have been over 3000 accredited media in Beijing, and the world championships have been viewed and read about in over 200 territories worldwide.
"The TV data so far received for the opening few days is very encouraging, with significant increases in the audiences, especially when compared with the two most recent Asian editions of these championships, in Osaka and Daegu.
"In China itself, the audience figures have been excellent, including 21.3 million viewers during live coverage of the day two evening session of day two.In Japan, the average and peak audiences for coverage have even eclipsed the audience of the 2007 world championships, which were held in Osaka; 15 million watched the final of the men’s 100m.
"In Great Britain, the cumulative audience after four days had reached over 15 million people. In Germany, the average audience for live coverage to date is 992,000 viewers; while in France the average audience so far has been 1.54 million viewers.
“The IAAF’s medical and anti-doping programme in Beijing has included medical assistance and monitoring, as well as education initiatives and an extensive anti-doping testing strategy.
“The testing figures are interim data. We will confirm full anti-doping statistics by press release on Tuesday but this is the most comprehensive testing programme of any sport in the past two years,” emphasised Diack.
“More than 650 blood tests were conducted at the athlete hotels prior, and during, the world championships. More than 520 urine tests conducted at the stadium and at the hotels.
“We have had two positive findings reported to date, the athletes have been provisionally suspended and disciplinary procedures are underway.
“In accordance with the IAAF retesting policy initiated in 2005, samples will be kept in long term storage facilities for future reanalysis.
“As I hand over the baton to Seb, I am pleased to deliver an association with stable finances and a sport which is ready to begin a new exciting era of growth. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the athletes, officials, media, and volunteers.
“Thank you to the IAAF staff, the Local Organising Committee, General Administration of Sport of China, City of Beijing, Chinese Athletics Association, Official IAAF Partners and Suppliers and National Partners and Suppliers.
“Thank you Beijing! Thank you China!” concluded President Diack, who will stand down from office at midnight on Sunday.
IAAF President elect Coe took the microphone to reflect on the success of the IAAF in communicating in the last nine days with a young, technology-proficient, audience.
“The IAAF’s strategy to attract a younger audience to athletics via the online promotion of the sport has received a massive boost in Beijing.
"The IAAF’s responsive website, which fits on any device, has got users around the world, also in over 200 territories.
“Mobile phone traffic is up 224% and tablet traffic is up 45% on the 2013 World Championships in Moscow.
“During these championships in Beijing. the website has attracted around two million unique users, which is 40% more than in 2013; 4.5 million total visits, which is 30% more than in 2013; and 25 million page views, which is 25% more than in 2013.
“The IAAF app has been operating in English and Chinese languages and while we are awaiting Chinese data, the initial English-language stats are very encouraging.
“The IAAF Facebook page (IAAF World Athletics Club) has increased its followers by 6.3% in a week and has now reach half a million followers.
“The IAAF Twitter account has increased by 12.5% in a week and now has 80,000 followers,” commented Coe, acknowledging the impact that the IAAF’s website and social media vehicles were having in attracting new fans to the sport.