In front of the IAAF-Council, which was lead by senior Vice-President Arne Ljundquist, Klaus Wowereit and Clemens Prokop explained at the World Championships in Helsinki , how important the World Championships 2009 will be for Berlin and for Germany . „Sport is very important for our society, and Germany profits from that. But all the countries have to work together to be successful. But not only in sport but in politics as well as in culture,” Berlins governing mayor Klaus Wowereit told the council members. Also SCC-RUNNING supports the World Championships in Berlin in 2009. The German organising committee for the World Championships in 2009 had invited the IAAF Council to the German embassy in Helsinki on Monday. Among the organising committee was Klaus Wowereit, the president of the German Athletics Federation Clemens Prokop and Berlin ’s senator for sport and education Klaus Böger.
We don’t have to fear the rain
Nobody doubts that Berlin is ready for the World Championships. “We don’t need new infrastructure. The Olympic stadium, with its blue track, is already in use since last year, and we don’t have to fear the rain causing fewer spectators to come because the whole stadium has a roof. The ‚athletes village’ will be in the Hotel Estrel. There are enough rooms for an athlete’s hotel and meeting place for the Championships. Everything is booked and ready“, said Klaus Wowereit. „There will be no problem to get to the Olympic stadium. We already have everything and if necessary, it just has to be modernised by then.”
Wowereit is convinced that Berlin people will support the third biggest sporting event in the world behind the Olympic Games and the soccer World Cup: „We will have a full stadium. I believe that the ISTAF, the biggest athletics meeting in Germany , showed that Berlin ’s people are keen to see athletics.” For the World Championships a lot of people from other countries will come to Berlin and boost the economy. But not only shall the economy flourish. „It is important to motivate young people and to give them new impulses. There are a lot of young athletes who quit sport at a certain age and go for a job. Nowadays it is very risky to just concentrate on sports. Without sponsors like the German army or a few companies it would be hard for some elite athletes to concentrate on the sport.”
How the mascot look like
During the ISTAF on September 4th the organising committee will meet again and decide which next steps to take. This phase will begin in the second half of 2006. „Among other things we will discuss how the mascot will look like“, said Wowereit. It is obvious that advertisement is more important than everything else. It is important for Berlin to present itself. “And that is only possible if everyone is focused and working together – the German Athletics Federation and the city of Berlin,” said Wowereit, who favours the decathlon as an athletics event and keeps the fingers crossed for Berlin’s Andre Niklaus, who will compete in Helsinki.
Berlin is ready
But not only the World Championships in 2009 were a topic at the meeting. Klaus Wowereit was talking about a possible bid of Berlin for the Olympics. Berlin lost the bid in 1996 against Sydney as the host city for the 2000 Olympics. Many people will remember the mascot from Berlin , the yellow bear face. Wowereit assured the IAAF Council members that Berlin would be ready for the Olympic Games. “We know that there is a hard competition all over the world for the Olympic Games. I know that it is not easy for the council to make a decision since there are no weak candidate cities nowadays.
I can just tell you: Berlin is ready!“