With 50 days to go until the IAAF World U20 Championships Tampere 2018, the host nation and its athletes are adding the finishing touches to their preparations for the event on 10-15 July.
It will be the first time a Scandinavian city has hosted a global age-group athletics championships and it looks set to be one of the biggest yet. With the deadline for preliminary entries having now closed, 1718 athletes from 171 teams have signalled their interest in competing in Tampere.
Those numbers can be expected to fall slightly by the time the final entry period closes, but they may not be too far off the record entry figure of 1566 athletes from the 2012 edition in Barcelona.
The local organising committee is ready to welcome the world to Tampere and has this week published the official bulletin for the event.
The bulletin includes various pieces of information and updates for the championships, including the LOC’s recent announcement that they plan to supply just tap water to the teams instead of bottled water. Finland’s tap water is among the highest quality in the world and has been found to be significantly cleaner than bottled water.
Finland’s leading U20 athletes, meanwhile, expressed their heightened anticipation for the championships at a recent press conference.
“I’m very excited,” said sprinter Samuel Purola. “It’s such an amazing experience to run in a world championships in front of my home audience.”
From 28 June until 1 July, numerous cities around Finland will be hosting athletics carnivals to whet the appetite of the country’s athletes and fans ahead of the World U20 Championships.
“With 49 Olympic track and field champions to date from a population of only five million, Finland punches above its athletics weight and is arguably the modern spiritual home of athletics,” said IAAF President Sebastian Coe.
“Finland was one of the 17 founding members of the IAAF in 1912 and has since developed a world-renowned reputation for successfully hosting major athletics events, including one Olympic Games, two World Championships and three European Championships.
“The combination of an unrivalled national athletics culture, vast hosting experience and an athletics-loving city will ensure that the IAAF World U20 Championships Tampere 2018 this July will be an athletics meeting to savour.”