Most engaging World Athletics Championships in history

The World Athletics Championships Budapest 23 concluded on Sunday (27) after nine days of thrilling action in which superstars of the sport added to their legacy and new stars emerged as global champions.

A record total of 2100 athletes from 195 countries (plus the Athlete Refugee Team) have competed in the Hungarian capital, watched by more than 400,000 ticketed spectators from 120 countries, and producing one world record, one world U20 record, seven championship records, 11 area records and 73 national records.

The heightened competitiveness provided enormous drama in the field events in particular, where 13 athletes across eight events recorded their best mark in the final round of competition to improve their positions, five of them clinching the gold medal.

Meanwhile, US sprinters Noah Lyles and Sha’Carri Richardson, Kenyan middle distance diva Faith Kipyegon, Dutch 400m hurdles specialist Femke Bol and dominant Spanish walkers Alvaro Martin and Maria Perez emerged as multiple title winners.

Lyles claimed the 100m and 200m double and anchored the USA men’s 4x100m relay team to victory, while Richardson set a championship record of 10.65 to win her first global title in the 100m, then anchored the USA team to a second championship record in the women’s 4x100m relay.

Kipyegon clinched a historic double, becoming the first woman to win both the 1500m and 5000m at the World Athletics Championships after breaking the world records over both distances this year.

Martin (20km and 35km race walk) and Perez (20km and 35km race walk) completed the first gold medal sweep of the race walks programme by one country, Spain.

Bol completed a drama-filled nine days by anchoring the Dutch women’s 4x400m team to a last-gasp victory in the final event, having fallen within metres of the finish line in the 4x400m mixed relay on the first night and won her first individual world title in the 400m hurdles in between.

Venezuela’s Yulimar Rojas won her fourth world triple jump title, while Lyles (200m), Kipyegon (1500m), Joshua Cheptegei (10,000m), Grant Holloway (110m hurdles) and Karsten Warholm (400m hurdles) have each won three titles in their core event.

With so many brilliant storylines, this will go down as the most engaging edition in the history of the sport.

After nearly one million website visitors a day in the first seven days, Budapest had already surpassed previous visitor numbers for a World Championships.
The popularity of the website’s live results platform continues to grow. On day one, traffic was more than double that for any previous event. At peak times, the website received over 400,000 requests per minute, and up to 14 million per hour.
Over the nine days of the championships, 14,000 news articles have been published for a reach of 28.5 billion.

A record number of more than 1200 accredited broadcast personnel from 46 broadcasters, as well as 850 accredited media and photographers from 75 countries, have covered the championships.

Rights-holding broadcasters report that huge audiences are tuning in from all over the world and there are impressive peak numbers in key markets such as Germany, UK, France and Finland. TBS in Japan reported after the first weekend that their coverage reached 28 million people at some point during the broadcast. These numbers are expected to grow as more data is collated. 

Our social media platforms passed the milestone of 11 million followers during the championships, and more than 38,000 people visited the Museum of World Athletics exhibition in the Etele Plaza in Budapest.

World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said: “Together with the Budapest Organising Committee we have created a new standard for our outdoor World Championships going forward. It is the new blueprint. We have seen full stadia which creates an electric atmosphere, we have had the highest ever number of participating athletes, we have witnessed jaw-dropping and nail-biting performances, and we have had huge audiences as a result.

“Innovation has been a driving force for these championships. They have had more innovation embedded in them than we have seen in the last decade. From a medal plaza where athletes are treated like rock stars, to the awarding of coaches’ medals, striking branding that can be seen across the city, and a clear sustainability vision. This is a World Championships city and a country with a long-term, ambitious vision for sport and legacy that goes way beyond a nine-day competition.

“Together with the Hungarian government, and science and technology institutions like the Hungarian University of Sport Sciences, we are drawing up plans to create a permanent World Athletics centre of coaching excellence, which will be housed at the National Athletics Centre. This centre will broaden access to world-class coaching around the world and carry out research in sport science, medicine, biometrics, AI, sport equipment and other areas that can help advance and support our pool of super talented athletes and coaches.”

Earlier today (27), the newly elected gender-equal World Athletics Council had its first meeting in Budapest and Colombia’s Ximena Restrepo was confirmed as the Senior Vice President to Coe, becoming the first woman to take that role. 

Other World Championships statistics

1 world record (United States in the 4x400m mixed relay - 3:08.80)
1 world U20 record (Roshawn CLARKE, JAM, in the 400m hurdles - 47.34)
7 championship records (Ryan CROUSER, USA, in the shot put - 23.51; Daniel STAHL, SWE, in the discus - 71.46; United States in the 4x400m mixed relay - 3:08.80; Sha'Carri RICHARDSON, USA, in the 100m - 10.65; Shericka JACKSON, JAM, in the 200m - 21.41; María PEREZ, ESP, in the 35km race walk - 2:38:40; United States in the 4x100m relay - 41.03)
11 area records
Africa: Cote d’Ivoire, CIV, in the 4x100m relay - 41.90
Asia: Ernest John OBIENA, PHI, in the pole vault - 6.00; India in the 4x400m relay - 2:59.05; Kemi ADEKOYA, BRN, in the 400m hurdles - 53.56, 53.39 & 53.09
Europe: Matthew HUDSON-SMITH, GBR, in the 400m - 44.26 
NACAC: United States in the 4x400m mixed relay - 3:08.80
Oceania: Jemima MONTAG, AUS, in the 20km race walk - 1:27:16
South America: Brian Daniel PINTADO, ECU, in the 35km race walk - 2:24:34; Flor Denis RUIZ HURTADO, COL, in the javelin - 65.47
73 national records
22 world leading performances
23 countries won gold medals
26 countries won silver medals
24 countries won bronze medals
46 countries won medals
71 countries finished in top 8
Countries from all six areas won gold medals:
Africa – 9 golds from 5 countries
Asia – 3 golds from 3 countries
Europe – 16 golds from 9 countries
NACAC – 20 golds from 4 countries
Oceania - 1 gold from 1 country
South America – 1 gold from 1 country

Other firsts

Neeraj Chopra won India’s first gold medal, in the men’s javelin. Hugues Fabrice Zango won Burkina Faso’s first gold medal, in the men’s triple jump. And Ivana Vuleta won Serbia’s first gold medal, in the women’s long jump.

Botswana’s Letsile Tebogo (bronze) became the first African man to win a medal in the 100m.

Haruka Kitaguchi became the first Japanese athlete to win the women’s javelin, and has the opportunity to defend her title before her home crowd in Tokyo in 2025.

Canada won both hammer throw titles, and four gold medals in total, for the first time.

Ernest Obiena’s silver in the men’s pole vault is the best result for the Philippines at the World Championships.

First medals for Pakistan (Arshad Nadeem’s silver in the men’s javelin) and the British Virgin Islands (Kyron McMaster’s silver in the men’s 400m hurdles).

Highest ever placings (first top eight) for Lesotho (Tebello Ramakongoana’s fourth in the men’s marathon) and St Lucia (Julien Alfred’s fourth in the women’s 200m and fifth in the 100m).

First shared gold at the World Athletics Championships – Katie Moon (USA) and Nina Kennedy (AUS) in the women’s pole vault (also shared bronze medal in the men’s pole vault – Chris Nilsen (USA) and Kurtis Marschall (AUS)).



Originally published by World Athletics


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