No New Records at Lackluster Athletics Championships

      September 01, 2011 13:25

      The 2011 IAAF World Championships in Athletics in Daegu is suffering from lack of new records. No world or championship record has been set in the first five days. The closest thing was Valerie Adams tying the championship record in women's shot put on Monday with 21.24 m.

      The organizing committee laid a Mondo track, dubbed "the magic rug" for resilience and elasticity, in the Daegu Stadium, and scheduled race walking and marathon in the morning to create an optimal environment, but its efforts were thwarted by wind and weather.

      The summer in Daegu is notoriously hot and humid. This year it saw 10 days of heavy rain before the opening of the championships, which increased humidity, and since the opening the weather has been extremely hot.

      The Korea Meteorological Administration issued a heat warning for Daegu on Wednesday, and Thursday's temperatures are expected to reach 33 degrees Celsius.

      The wind has not been helping either. The IAAF recognizes records produced with up to 2.0 m/s of tail wind, which helps athletes reduce time by up to 0.1 seconds. But the Daegu Stadium has seen tail winds only in the morning but head winds in the evening, and most of the finals of track events take place at night.

      In the men's 100-m final last Saturday, winner Yohan Blake from Jamaica clocked 9.92 seconds with 1.4 m/s of head wind. Had there been a tail wind of 2m/s, he could have bettered his time by nearly 0.2 seconds.

      But there is also a lack of motivation among athletes, who regard this year's Worlds as a mere stepping stone to next year's Olympics in London. Even sprinter Usain Bolt said when he arrived in Korea that a new world record in Daegu is unlikely.

      In the 2007 Worlds in Osaka, a year before the 2008 Beijing Olympics, no world record was set either. Osaka was also notorious for scorching heat and humidity among athletes.

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