by Rachel Ogbu;
IAAF President Sebastian Coe has described the IAAF World Championships London 2017 as the most competitive and compelling World Championships of all time.
“I can’t remember a time when the competition has been so competitive and the stories around them so compelling,” said Coe. “From the opening salvo of discus and long jump to the 4x400m this evening we have witnessed sometimes no more than the thickness of a vest between the finalists.
“There is a clear recognition of the connection between athletes and fans,” he added. “The ability of athletes to raise their game is, in a large part, driven by theatre provided by full houses.
“When we get that right, this sport is unassailable.”
The event came to an end on Sunday, August 13, 2017 seeing many of the sport’s established stars – Mo Farah, Wayde van Niekerk, Sally Pearson, all win gold medals and a few extra several surprises. For one, our eyes never left super-human Usain Bolt. The Jamaican who has blown our minds with his talent and his stellar personality for the past nine years gave it one more shot at breaking his own record -although it ended in agony from a torn hamstring on the anchor leg of the 4x100m, he bowed out and into retirement with swagger following a fitting farewell lap of honour at the end of the IAAF World Championships London 2017.
The United States of America won the games when it comes to medals -winning a total of 30. The continent was right up on their heels with Kenya coming in second with an impressive 11 medals followed by South Africa with six. Ethiopia rounded up the African top 10 medal table with 5 medals. Olympic high jump champion Ruth Beitia of Spain received the International Fair Play award from The International Fair Play Committee (CIFP)
According to the IAAF, many athletes have commented on how the atmosphere from the sell-out crowds helped inspire them to medal-winning performances and highly competitive finals with unprecedented depth in numerous events.
This World Championship has also helped the IAAF reach a landmark of 1.2million spectators at World Athletics Series events in 2017, almost doubling the previous record figure. 900,000 of those spectators came from the IAAF World Championships.
Asides the main event, the IAAF can be commended for the way they made the event most memorable for young sports fans. Like the way, we spectators were able to use social media to interact and engage directly using the in-stadium photos, videos and messages that were projected on to the screen.
The IAAF boasts as a result of our social media engagement, the organisation saw an increase in its website traffic which went up 20% with 3.4million users and 7.5million sessions. There was also a significant move towards mobile usage with more than half of the website’s traffic now coming via mobile devices and an increase in followers for the IAAF’s social media channels which led to nearly eight million engagements across all platforms.
“We’re still analysing numbers, but we’re looking at amazing figures across all platforms,” said IAAF CEO Olivier Gers. “It’s indicative that our sport is attractive to all generations and different demographics.”