With the race to stage the 2019 event concluding on Tuesday, Alex Mills takes a last-minute look at what’s on offer
With just hours to go until the IAAF takes a final vote on who will host the 2019 World Championships, the supporters of each host city are undoubtedly on tenterhooks.
While each bid team has their own proud unique selling points, so too do they possess factors that could contribute to the potential downfall of their bid.
Barcelona, Doha and Eugene. From history to culture, these cities and their host bids could not be more different.
Do the organisers go for the exciting but hot possibility of a championship in Doha, Qatar, in a nation where money seems to be the solution to every problem?
Although the prospect of running a marathon on a dark October evening at 30 degrees might not appeal to all of the athletes, the opportunity for others to take part in an event based in a fantastic state-of-the-art stadium more than likely will.
What’s more, they have Mutaz Essa Barshim as a home athlete, with the high jumper’s status outside of track and field growing at an incredibly fast rate, so much so I would rank him now among the top five in the sport. His star value has a global reach. Having become the second highest jumper in history in 2014, who would bet against him being the best ever by the time the championships come around in five years time?
One clear downfall aside from the heat is the timing of the event. The organising committee has already said that they aim to host the event towards the end of September and start of October. Another question is whether there will be the interest within the country to fill their 40,000-seater stadium for nine straight days of competition. While the Doha Diamond League has always been popular there is a huge difference between a week-long event and two hours of non-stop action.
But the issue of interest could also be a problem for Barcelona.
Many have said that staging the event in Catalonia would still be the sensible option given the proposed venue’s track record. Since hosting the Olympic Games in 1992, the Olympic Stadium has also played host to both the 2010 European Championships and the 2012 World Junior Championships, both with relative success but again low crowds.
The city’s World Junior Championships was followed by that event in Eugene this summer, in what was seen by many as a dress rehearsal for the big thing five years later.
Nicknamed TrackTown, this small town in the North West of America possesses an obsession of athletics like nothing I have ever experienced anywhere else.
Wherever you go you are reminded of the famous former athletes that have donned the yellow and green of the University of Oregon at the famous Hayward Field or the coaches that helped them to become so special.
Wherever you look you can see athletes trying to emulate their heroes running on either side of the Willamette River.
To put it simply, if this bid was to be decided on the consensus of athlete opinion then Eugene would surely be the chosen host.
Inspired by their experience of either the World Junior Championships or the high-profile Prefontaine Classic meeting, it seems that many athletes would love to be able to take on the electric atmosphere in a major championship environment.
In addition, Eugene 2019 offers an opportunity to bring the event to the USA for the first time since its creation in 1983. In turn offering the world’s most successful track and field nation the opportunity to sell itself to a nation that seems to switch off their interest in the sport outside of an Olympic year.
There are of course shortfalls and questions to this proposition, not least regarding the facilities. While Hayward Field is brilliant it still needs an increase in capacity to give it the vibe of a real international stadium. Currently it holds 15,000 less people than the stadium in Doha and 27,000 below that of Barcelona.
Also, the a need for further accommodation to be built in the next few years could push organisers towards the already well-prepared options of its rivals, where hotels certainly aren’t in short demand.
The question also needs to be asked as to whether a town of less than 200,000 people can cope with a huge influx of fans in the same way that two cities of over 1.2 million residents can.
At around 1pm UK time tomorrow (Tuesday November 18) the decision will be made. Who gets your vote? Tweet us @AthleticsWeekly, drop us a line on Facebook or pop a comment beneath this post to let us know.