Sportsmen and women from all over the globe gathered in Doha, Qatar in the Middle East from late September to early October of this year to compete in the 2019 World Athletics Championships.
WHAT IS ATHLETICS?
Athletics is a discipline which involves many sports. These are divided into track and field events. Track events include running across different distances, from sprints over 100m to long distance races run over 10,000m. There are also races requiring athletes to jump over hurdles and relay races where teams of four runners compete against each other. The main field events require jumping and throwing, for instance the javelin, the pole-vault, the hammer and the high jump.
WHAT DOES AN ATHLETE DO?
Athletes are people who compete in sports events for a living. People like Vivian Cheruiyot from Kenya and Haile Gebrselassie from Ethiopia are some examples of famous athletes. They are paid by commercial sponsors and by government-run sports organisations in their own countries. Athletes must dedicate many years of their lives to training. They usually get help with training from a coach.
AFRICA’S SUCCESS IN ATHLETICS?
At the World Championships this year, Kenya won the most medals of all the African nations (5 gold medals, 2 silver medals and 4 bronze medals) and was second in the overall competition, behind the United States. Ethiopia, Uganda, Algeria, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Morocco, Namibia and Nigeria also featured on the medal table.
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF GLOBAL SPORTS EVENTS?
Events like these championships help to attract large numbers of visitors and can improve the economy of a country. However, they are difficult to run. It costs a lot of money to build the stadiums where the sports will take place and the athletes’ villages where the competitors will stay. Sometimes, governments forget about the problems of local people when they are preparing for global sports events. South Africa faced both these advantages and disadvantages when it hosted the football World Cup in 2010. For instance, around 33 billion Rands was spent on the World Cup to produce six new football stadiums and improve transport links in the country. However, several thousands of people living in the Joe Slovo slum settlement near Cape Town’s airport were forced to move out of their homes because of hotels being built for visitors nearby.
The Olympics are the next major sporting event. They will take place in Tokyo, Japan in 2020. Unlike the Athletics Championships, the Olympics includes many other sports, including swimming and cycling.
Global sports events, such as this year’s World Athletics Championships, are inspiring. It is amazing to see athletes from a range of countries come together to compete and push themselves to achieve their best. However, it is important to be aware that these events can also have a negative impact on the country hosting them.