August 16, 2011 10:12
The organizing committee of the IAAF World Championships in Daegu is busy finalizing how it will allocate rooms for the expected 2,472 athletes from 207 countries in the Athletes' Village. The village has 528 housing units in nine buildings and can accommodate a total of 3,500 people.
Kim Young-soo, who manages the village, said, "The IAAF has requested we assign athletes who share a common language, culture and continent to the same building." In response, the organizing committee decided to house Korea, China and Japan together, while the United States, Jamaica, Canada and the U.K. will also share one premises.
Jamaica is one of very few countries, along with Russia, that can challenge the U.S. in the medal count at the worlds, and the small Caribbean nation easily ranks as the U.S.' biggest rival in track events due to its formidable sprinters. The two countries have established separate training camps to maintain a level of secrecy, but they are likely to bump into one another often in the run-up to the championships in their role as neighbors.
One man who won't be available for autograph hunters in the village, however, is Jamaican superstar Usain Bolt. Bolt, who holds the world record of 9.58 seconds in the 100 meters, will be staying at a hotel in downtown Daegu until the worlds wrap up.
The organizing committee had to make a sudden change in the room allocation plan because it had originally put Israel in the same building as other Arab countries. Israel had to be placed in a different building at the request of the IAAF, which notified the committee that it merits special consideration given its traumatic experience at the 1972 Munich Olympics, when an attack by the Palestinian terrorist group Black September killed 11 of its athletes and coaches, as well as a West German police officer, at the Olympic village there.
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