IAAF hopes Chinese fans can fill Bird’s Nest during Worlds

London, July 18 (IANS) Lamine Diack, president of World athletics governing body IAAF, said on Saturday the organisers need to step up promotional efforts to ensure that Beijing’s Bird’s Nest Stadium will be filled with fans during the World Championships to be held between August 22-30.

Diack, currently in Cali, Colombia, for the IAAF World Youth Championships, is concerned that the advertising and promotional activities in Beijing are too low key, reports Xinhua.

“I myself visited Beijing for the ‘One Year to Go’ promotional ceremony in August 2014 and I was in Beijing again in March and again in April 2015 to support the promotional effort,” Diack said in a statement.

“On both occasions, I reiterated the need to invest properly in the promotional efforts to secure what had been promised to us by the Chinese authorities for this event — 100 percent capacity for the evening sessions and 30 percent for morning sessions,” the Senegalese added.

“But at the moment, we see that some evening sessions are still around 50 percent of capacity, so we need to work very hard in the remaining weeks. We have no time to lose now.”

The 82-year-old added: “Together with my IAAF Council colleagues, I supported Beijing’s bid for the 2015 World Championships because I believed that the event would not only be an extraordinary competition and would strengthen the image of our sport worldwide, but because I felt that it would allow China to unleash the huge potential of athletics in China.

“I call on all our partners in China to support us to achieve these goals.”

The World Championships will be held in Beijing’s iconic Bird’s Nest stadium, which also hosted the opening and closing ceremonies and athletics competitions during the 2008 Olympic Games.

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