World Athletics (WA) President Sebastian Coe said Budapest is a “world championship city and a city that really wants us here”.
At a press conference to mark the 2023 World Athletics Championships, Coe noted that he had been in Budapest for a week and had met the president in his first days. He highlighted the branding for the event throughout the city, saying it showed that Budapest was proud to be staging the world championships. “This is the 40th anniversary of our first world championships,” he said, noting that the event had since gone from roughly 150 participating countries to more than 200. Coe said the Budapest world championships was the first that would be held under the World Athletics Sustainability Strategy, adding that 75-80% of the athletes have also indicated in surveys that climate change and issues around sustainability mattered to them. Ádám Schmidt, the state secretary for sports, said Hungary was “experiencing historic days” in hosting the world’s third-biggest sporting event. He said Hungarians had reason to be proud of hosting the World Athletics Championships, which was a major opportunity for Hungarian sports. The state secretary said that after the event the new National Athletics Centre would be a home not just for Hungarian athletics but for all sports lovers. Balázs Németh, the CEO of organiser Budapest 2023 Nonprofit, said the aim was to offer “a fun experience and memorable moments” to the spectators, one aspect of which was the establishment of the two fan zones. He noted the medal plaza, where the medal ceremonies will take place, as another innovation, and called Youhuu the native Hungarian Racka sheep “the best-ever mascot in the world”. The 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest is being held from August 19 to 27.