The “one and only” Eugene has hosted truly global world championships

EUGENE, Ore., July 24 (Reuters) – World Athletics said on Sunday that more countries than ever were represented in the finals of the events in Eugene, the smallest city hosting the biennial global gathering.

Ahead of Sunday’s final session, the sport’s governing body announced that a record 79 countries had finalists during the 10-day event, up from 76 in Doha three years ago. Liberia, Niger, Pakistan and Samoa had athletes in a final for the first time.

With a population of about 175,000, Eugene, Oregon is far smaller than previous hosts, most recently Doha with more than 2 million and London with about 9 million, according to the most recent U.S. census.

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More than 1,700 athletes represented a total of 179 countries and the Athlete Refugee Team at the gathering, and USA Track & Field Chief Operating Officer Renee Washington said she was delighted with the global reach of the event.

“I was – and still am – pleasantly surprised at how the world has embraced this very small community,” Washington told reporters Sunday.

“This is a unique community in a unique part of the United States.”

Postponed by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the gathering took place on U.S. soil for the first time, a move designed in part to help win over an American audience in a crowded sports market where the landscape of The four main men dominated professional leagues – NFL, NHL, NBA and MLB.

Initial crowds at the 15,000-seat Hayward Field were less than the hosts had hoped, but the World Championships managed to sell out the final session on Sunday, with Nigerian Tobi Amusan breaking the world record in the women’s 100m hurdles in the semifinals. Continue reading

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Reporting by Amy Tennery in Eugene, Oregon, with additional reporting by Nathan Frandino; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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