Daegu and Moscow given Worlds stage

The final big international athletics championships before London’s 2012 Olympics will be staged in the steaming heat of Daegu, South Korea, it was announced today, while the 2013 athletics World Championships were awarded to Moscow by a meeting of the governing council of the athletics world body, the IAAF.

The winning cities beat off competition from Brisbane, Barcelona, Casablanca and Split, following a year’s lobbying. The Russian and Korean bids were notably well-financed, with electronic goods industrial giant Samsung actively supporting Daegu.

Moscow, of course, staged the 1980 Olympics, and has more recently hosted an edition of the IAAF World Indoor Championships. The 1988 Olympic Games were staged in Seoul, South Korea, where the event was notable for its frequent lack of atmosphere, despite capacity crowds in the Olympic Stadium and other venues, despite often record-breaking performances, unless the host nation had any direct involvement in the event.

Those Olympics were infamous for Ben Johnson being unmasked as a drug cheat following the 100m final – and after some outstanding work by one agency reporter who got the news leaked from the testing laboratory – and also for the notoriously rigged home-town decision in the boxing against the outstanding fighter of the tournament, Roy Jones Jr, the ramifications of which have been affecting international amateur boxing ever since.

Korea is also actively bidding to stage the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.

At the meeting in Mombasa, after declaring the final results, Lamine Diack, the IAAF president, congratulated all the bidding cities, saying, “I am convinced that each of these cities is more than capable of hosting excellent editions of our World Championships, but in every competition we have to have winners and losers.”

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