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At the time of writing, it’s the start of day three for the IAAF World Championships; the highlight of this year’s athletics calendar. Over the course of nine days, more than 2,000 athletes from 200 nations will descend on London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park for the high-energy competition, pitting the country’s best against each other.
Many of the events sold out quickly, but there is still a chance to get in on the action with limited tickets available for a handful of sessions throughout the week. We headed down to London Stadium to join the likes of Scottish middle-distance runner Laura Muir, British distance-runner Mo Farah, and Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, to find out what the rest of the week has in store.
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This one’s a no-brainer, surely. Purpose built for the 2012 Olympics, athletics has come home to the striking London Stadium in the heart of Stratford. The crowd’s roar can be heard from all around, and there’s little like walking along the concourse up to the stadium among a throng of excited revellers. Once in the stadium, walking up to any of the thousands of seats, the track and field unfolds with crisp beauty. Then there’s nothing left to do than take your seat and soak in the vibrant atmosphere.
It’s one of the best things about sport; the spirit. With it comes a serious amount of drama. Some of it is expected, such as Mo Farah striding away with the gold medal in the 10,000m on Friday. Some of it is less than expected. Although it was never set in stone that Usain Bolt would walk away with the gold in his final 100m sprint of his career, few expected the actual outcome. Coming third to the USA’s controversial entrant Justin Gatlin, Bolt still took the glory as the crowd erupted into chants of his name. Gatlin was left tending to his ego as the packed out crowd were unafraid to let him know their feelings on his win. The drama, tension and atmosphere far surpasses that of a film or TV show. This is real life after all.
The biggest cheers are reserved for the British competitors (other than Bolt, of course), but with all the build-up, the stories, and the characters, there’s a whole range of athletes to put your energy behind. Mo Farah, as ever, continues to stand tall as a crowd favourite, and the reaction for Laura Muir’s qualification for the 1,500m final was near-showstopping. This is only the start too. There’s a full week left to rally behind your favourite, and to drive them towards victory.
In more ways than one. The whole thing is like a well oiled-machine, from security through to the enthusiastic volunteers (we had a nice long conversation with one who was clearly loving life). The commentators are also invaluable, guiding you through all of the action happening on the track and field. There can be a lot happening at once, so being advised where and when to look is extremely helpful. Even those queues getting home move so quickly, you’ll be reliving the amazing experience with TV highlights before you know it.
The athletics takes the centre stage, yes, but that doesn’t mean that’s all the IAAF World Championships has to offer. Perfect for the most die-hard athletics fan and the casual visitor, it’s possible to make a whole day out of any of the week’s many sessions. There’s the brilliant views from the top of the Orbit, and thrill-seekers can come back down on the world’s longest and tallest tunnel slide. Fans can also take part in a spring in the activity zone, or even relax on the man-made beach nearby. Add that to the sporting action, and the food and drink, and you’ve got the perfect day for all.
Get in on the action and see the best. There are very limited tickets still left for a handful of sessions this week. Find out more on Ticketmaster.co.uk.