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Bolt, Tamgho, Rudisha head for South Korea's World Athletics Championships

Reuters/Lee Jae-Won

The World Athletics Championships gets under way on 27 August in Daegu, South Korea. This 13th World Athletic Championships has been under preparation for four and a half years.


In 2007, South Korea's third biggest city was chosen from nine venues to host the eight-day event. Daegu is now preparing to welcome a total of 3,500 athletes and officers and as many reporters to cover the biannual meet.

The city invested some one and a half billion euros in preparing the championships. But Koreans say they expect some 5.2 billion euros to be generated in direct and indirect revenue. Their economy is a resilient one, having avoided the global recession so far, with its economic growth rate reaching 6.1 per cent last year.

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The Korean hosts have created over 60,000 jobs to prepare the event. An additional 6,133 volunteers, mainly students, have helped organise one of the most popular sporting events of the year.

South Korea is hoping crowds will pack the state-of-the-art Daegu stadium to see the likes of Usain Bolt and France's triple-jumper Teddy Tamgho. Other crowd-pullers will be Kenya's 800-metre world record holder David Rudisha, javelin thrower Andreas Thorkildsen from Norway and Croat high jumper Blanca Vlasic.

The sprints, as always, will provide fast-paced action as the rest of the world pits their sprinting might against the dominant Jamaicans and Americans.

One of the freshest faces on the world sprinting circuit told RFI on Friday that his entire season has been geared for the men's 100 metres in South Korea.

Christophe Lemaitre's best time of 9.92 seconds in the 100 metres is a long way off the mark set by Usain Bolt. But at 21, he's seen as one of Europe's brightest prospects and could grow in Daegu.

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