Upon London’s successful bid to host the 2017 World Championships, it seemed the city may have been provided with an opportunity to replicate the achievements of the 2012 Olympics, where an array of athletes, most notably British, attained medals in intriguing encounters. Whilst this may have provided opportunities for younger athletes to compete in front of their home crowd, who perhaps witnessed the Olympics and thus may have been striving to achieve this feat, it may more pivotally showcase how highly the IAAF regard Britain. The country seems to be consistently recognised as a nation which may produce a competitive tournament, and create a high standard of arena to host, ultimately enabling them to be recognised, and rewarded with, multiple tournaments in close proximity. This may provide a platform for future British athletes to showcase their capabilities in front of their home crowd, and ultimately continue to productively utilise the London Stadium.
With the Olympics originally deemed by the IAAF to serve as the sole major championships for athletics, it was nearly a century before the maiden World Championships occurred. Finland, Germany and Japan have hosted twice, yet this is the maiden venture for Britain, potentially enabling the memories of London 2012 to be revisited, and the accomplishments replicated. Yet, the tournament’s crowning glory may be the innovation consistently showcased in order to provide equality, with new women’s events introduced throughout the competitions until, in 2005, both the women’s and men’s events were on an equal playing field.
Additionally, it seems poignant to similarly focus on the equilibrium between athletes and para-athletes, with London also hosting a championship for the latter. With both tournaments occurring at the same location, alongside both being broadcast on TV, the competition may have been showcased to the masses, in turn increasing support levels, and funding, for disability sport, deemed increasingly pivotal with the recent reduced monetary implementation. The Team GB team may have reiterated this suggestion, with their accomplishments across the tournament proving their credentials, and their ability to consistently perform at the pinnacle. Among the main contributors to Britain’s propulsion to third in the medal table seemed to be Hannah Cockroft, who with three victories highlighted her proficiency in major championships, with perhaps the quest to motivate younger athletes an incentive alongside increasing funding.
Whilst the para-athletes may claim the majority of the plaudits, it seems key to also focus on the second part of the championships, with a smorgasbord of competitors striving for gold. Two athletes have announced their retirement, with the World Championships acting as their swansong. The first, Usain Bolt, is the most accomplished male athlete in Championships history, with 11 gold medals contributing to his overall haul of 13. His vast trophy cabinet may have proved his credentials, and he may be looking to ensure his legacy further by expanding on this. Similarly, Mo Farah, winner of the double-double, may be looking to challenge himself versus the most proficient opponents from across the globe for the final time and, with Jessica Ennis, one of the British athletes who amassed gold on the infamous ‘Super Saturday’, having already retired, it may be Farah, and his colleague Greg Rutherford, deemed Britain’s most accomplished athletes, who therefore may have the best chance of replicating the feat.
With the World Athletics Championships scheduled to commence on the 4th August, there seems to be an ample time period during which athletes may prepare, and may seek to replicate the feats achieved by their para counterparts. It may be the British team which have been superiorly impacted by this tournament, as the country’s para team seemed to achieve a wide degree of success, and this may motivate their colleagues to strive for a position in the already accomplished squad. Yet, the most notable productive outcome of the competition seems to be the way it draws countries together, bypassing differing geographical boundaries to create unity. With silverware and the enhancement of legacies available, this championship seems to have multiple factors which may entice a wide breadth of athletes to compete under the common sporting ideology.
How may Team GB athletes utilise the accomplishments of their Paralympian counterparts to achieve on a similar scale?