While Berlin clearly is becoming the big favourite for receiving the Track and
Field World Championships in 2009, the German Athletics Association (Deutsche
Leichtathletik Verband (DLV) is adamantly trying to explain that it is not in
that position: “There is no reason for being euphoric,” said DLV
president Clemens Prokop.
But quite the opposite is the case.
Almost nothing now stands in the way. The city of Brussels withdrew its
application for hosting the prestigious, global sporting event. They had been
considered the strongest rivals.
Only Split and Valencia remaining
The only competitors remaining are Split, which is considered to be without a
chance, and Valencia. The Spaniards have against their favour that they already
hosted a world championship in 1999. The council of the International Athletics
Association (IAAF) will decide on a venue during their meeting on December 4 +
5 in Helsinki.
On November 8 + 9, representatives from the IAAF with be visiting Berlin to
once again review the conditions here. The following few days will be spent
doing the same in Split and Valencia.
Once bitten, twice shy
The DLV, of course, has already been bitten once with regard to a world
championship application. In the spring of 2002, the German capital already
once held the position of favourite for receiving the championships. But due to
a lack of professionalism in their efforts, the 2005 world championships were
giving to Helsinki. This helps to explain the current restrained behaviour of
the DLV officials.
The reason for Brussels’ withdrawal is apparently the resignation of the
president of their national athletics association, Philipe Houseaux.
He was practically alone responsible for the Belgian movement, but he is now
focussed on becoming the president of the National Olympic Committee. In
addition to the fact that (in the IAAF circles) a real chance of hosting the
championships in Brussels did not exist, Houseaux’s successors are also
not certain how they would finance the event.
The role of the DLV and Christoph Kopp
Wilfried Meert, the head organiser of the successful Brussels Golden League
Meeting, apparently played no role in Brussels’ application. He was
consciously excluded from the planning, which may now be avenging itself. There
is a similar situation in Berlin, however.
Christoph Kopp, who as the president of the Berlin Athletics Association (BLV)
originally got the movement rolling, has been cut off from the planning
numerous times by the heads of the DLV. He resigned a few days
ago—officially, for work-related reasons. That could have been
problematic, had Brussels stayed in the race.
Now almost nothing stands in Berlin’s way.