Once again, South Korea was the stage for one of the largest and most popular televised sporting events. It was hoped that this special event would have a positive impact on the exercise habits of this Asian country’s citizens. Among the most anticipated items was the Mondo track, the first blue colored track in Korea.
Not just a sporting event, the IAAF World Championships hosted in the South Korean city of Daegu is considered by local authorities as an opportunity to improve the image the general public has of athletics. Despite the number of medals South Korea obtained in the marathon, which is a sport practiced by millions across the country, Korea still lags behind in other athletic disciplines when compared to other Olympic power houses. "The World Championships will help athletics make a huge great leap forward and make our wishes come true. In this regard, Daegu 2011 is an unique opportunity for us to keep up with changing times not only when it comes to athletic performance, but also in terms of popular culture, assures "Dong-Jin Oh, President of the KAAF (Korean Association of Athletics Federations).
The theme for the championships chosen by the Local Organizing Committee, together with national authorities, was "peace and prosperity in the world through athletics," which communicates the importance that sports can be a positive influence in the evolution of mankind . The slogans "Sprint Together for Tomorrow" and "Dream, Passion and Challenge" express similar concepts to the ideals of the Republic of Korea, the same institution that proudly claimed that "in its 5,000 years of history, Korea has actively participated in the international community's efforts to promote peace and prosperity, at the same time being able to cultivate a highly advanced culture "said Choung Byoung-Gug, Minister of Culture, Sport and Tourism. " Dream, Passion and Challenge”, therefore, is an ideal that should be pursued by the rest of the world. The "dream" is to see the world together as one global community, where national borders and cultural differences can be overcome by "passion", the same which is felt within the IAAF family. The "challenge" has been to be able to prevail over human limitations and inspire future generations with these ideals. The slogan "Sprint Together for Tomorrow," expresses the competitive spirit and a sense of solidarity within the IAAF.
The venue that would host the competitions was Daegu Stadium (also known as Blue Arc), a complex that was completed in May 2001. It has been put to the test by already hosting other important sporting events such as FIFA World Cup (2002), Universiade (2003) and the Colorful Daegu Athletics Pre-Championships meets, held every year since 2005. The stadium was entirely renovated for the IAAF World Championships starting with the track built by Mondo: the first blue-colored track in Korea. "It was the first time that the Organizing Committee used a Mondo track, which was tested during the Colorful Deagu Pre-Championships (May 2011), the last meet before the event. The same Mondo surface was used at the Warm-Up Stadium and the throwing warm-up area,” explained Jun Kim, Director of the Organizing Committee. It took nine months and three Mondo teams to install the track from March to December 2010. During the last two months the tracks were maintained by ten local workers. "The Organizing Committee has nothing to complain about; the color and materials are excellent and the track fits perfectly into the stadium giving a feeling of brightness and warmth," added Jun Kim. Even for viewers watching on TV, the blue color is very popular because it is more pleasing to the eye than red.
In addition to the main track where races were held, the athletes had access to some training facilities. For the convenience of the athletes, a training zone was built in the Athletes Village which is a short walk from the apartments, and it consists of a warm-up area and a dedicated area for throwing disciplines. It can be reached by foot from Daegu Stadium. The Citizen's Stadium which is the main training site has a 400m eight-lane track and three indoor training centers used in the event of rain. The training zone in the Village is equipped with a 400m eight-lane track with a jump events training area and a race/walk training track. These installations have with the latest technologies and at the end of the Championships it will become a park open to the public. "We have done everything possible to guarantee that the most important element of the championships, the athletes, have optimal conditions so that they can compete at their best," said Kim Bum-II, Mayor of Daegu and Co-President of the Local Organizing Committee.
The Committee also awarded Mondo the contract to supply the equipment needed for competitions: solutions for the high jump and pole vault, hurdles, distance markers, and carts for carrying equipment for throwing sports. The solutions created for Daegu drew the attention of TV broadcasters for their color and the logos in plain sight for everyone to see,” explains Luca Reinaudo, Product Manager of Mondo Track & Field "We chose the red because it is the color of our Track & Field business unit and because it is the color of the IAAF. Right from the test event held before the Championships, we realized that it was the right choice, because red matches perfectly with the blue of the track creating a visual effect that many TV crews appreciated a lot. The results were high visibility during the World Championships due to the larger logos placed on the equipment. "Before the Championships, our logos were usually smaller,” continues Reinaudo. In the spring of this year (i.e., 2011), we decided to make some changes that fully comply with IAAF regulations by using larger logos and to make the most of the media coverage of such a major event. That’s why flat surfaces were created on the equipment. They were specially designed to apply large Mondo logos. "This visibility, together with the quality and ease of use of the solutions, was the winning stroke that convinced the organizers of the next IAAF World Indoor Championships in Athletics (Istanbul, March 2012) to sign a contract with Mondo at Daegu 2011 for the purchase of equipment for the event. Even the British federation, has followed suit with its decision to purchase part of the equipment for the forthcoming 2012 Olympics Games in London from Mondo.
The Daegu Championships have provided Mondo the opportunity to prove how the experience gained over the years can be a bonus that is hard to find on the market. "Mondo not only supplies equipment, but also technical assistance,” - said Luca Reinaudo. In the case of Daegu, two technicians arrived onsite before the start of the Championships and remained during the event to provide support. "One of the most aspects when it comes to supplying equipment is logistics. The technicians that Mondo sends to an event receive the material which in the case of Daegu probably traveled for weeks inside a container. Mondo is right there while the goods are being unloaded to make sure that no damage occurs. Once unloaded, the entire material and especially the electronic devices are tested. Once they have checked that the equipment works, they move on to train the Organizing Committee’s official and volunteer staff who may be used to working with other brands of equipment.
When the competitions start, the most important aspect is maintenance. This pertains especially to hurdles whose pinewood bars often need to be changed after every competition. The technicians’ work continues even after the event when everything has to be packed up again, loaded on containers and sent back to Mondo’s warehouse in Spain. The contract with IAAF envisages that the event’s organizers can rent the equipment, which continues to be property of Mondo. “The importance of having technicians onsite is essential even for improving the equipment,” stresses Reinaudo. The comments we receive from athletes, judges and organizers often lead to even minor changes that can improve quality and make using the equipment easier.”