Tampere Brings Together the Best Young Athletes from 174 Countries
In July, Tampere becomes the venue of an exceptionally international event when athletes from 174 different countries come together to participate in the IAAF World U20 Championships. When measured by the number of participating countries, the championships in Tampere are even more international than the Winter Olympics held in Pyeongchang in February earlier this year.
The sport of athletics world championship for athletes under the age of 20 is a six-day event which takes place between 10 July to 15 July 2018 at Tampere Stadium. The spectacular opening ceremony will be held at the Ratina Plaza on Monday, 9 July at 18:30. The opening ceremony is an open, free event.
Around 1,700 top young athletes, along with their coaches and entourages, will arrive in Tampere for the Championships. The largest delegations are coming from Germany, France and the US. The streets of Tampere are going to reflect the event in many different ways throughout the week. For example, the flags of all the participating countries will be hung up in the city centre to welcome the visitors. The Tampere city centre will be particularly busy during the event, and it is likely that almost all accommodation in the city will be booked for the entire week.
According to Elisa Hakanen, General Secretary of the IAAF WU20 Championships 2018, ticket sales for the Tampere Stadium have gotten off to a promising start. The Stadium seats as many as 16,500 spectators, and tickets are still available for each day of the event. The organisers believe that their goal of 30,000 to 35,000 visitors will be met.
- We decided to keep the ticket prices affordable so that as many sports fans as possible can come cheer on the young talents. The cheapest day ticket for adults costs 12.50 euros. The price for people under the age of 16 is 6.50 euros. The six day ticket package costs 45 euros, says Hakanen.
In addition to offering a chance to follow world-class competition, the World U20 Championships are also an opportunity to enjoy an international atmosphere.
- An international event of this calibre has never before been held in Tampere, and I doubt it will be again. The competition is also a very big deal for Tampere’s global visibility, says Perttu Pesa of Visit Tampere.
The global visibility will be taken care of by accredited foreign reporters. The accrediting process is still ongoing, but at this time 150 reporters have signed up, most of them from outside of Finland. Yleisradio will broadcast 40 hours of coverage from the competition on Finnish television channels. Outside of Finland, the footage will be seen all the way in New Zealand, Brazil, India and Mauritius, for example.
Tampere has been appointed as the host of the competition by the IAAF, or the International Association of Athletics Federations. Organising the event is a massive collaborative effort by many different parties. Pyrintö, City of Tampere and Visit Tampere are the main parties responsible for the arrangements, but they are joined by many partners. The Finnish Athletics Federation and the IAAF are naturally involved as well. 700 volunteers are also lending a helping hand.
This is the first time the IAAF World U20 Championships have been held in Finland and the Nordic countries. Tampere has been given a great opportunity to prove itself as a fantastic venue for large sports events. The city already had a taste of this when the Tampere Stadium hosted the U20 European Championships in 2003 and the U23 European Championships in 2013.
There is at least one thing that sets Tampere apart from earlier World Championship venues: Instead of handing out bottled water, Tampere has opted for a more environmentally conscious choice by providing refillable bottles that can be filled with tap water. Finnish tap water is among the highest quality in the world and has been found to be significantly cleaner than bottled water. Special attention is being paid to sustainability in other arrangements as well, including recycling, food waste and transportation. For example, all the safety pins used to pin numbers on competitors will be collected in a designated tube.