IAAF World Junior Championships
Aug 15-20, 2006 at Beijing, China
DyeStat on-site coverage with Doug Speck, Jim Spier and Mike Kennedy

Arriving in Beijing - 2 days before the World Juniors

The DyeStat team arrives in Beijing and looks around the capital of China.

by Doug Speck and Mike Kennedy

After a twelve hour flight that left at 2:00 a.m. from the West Coast of the United States, a rather uneventful trip put us into the huge airport at Bejing at just before 6:00 a.m. their time.  One senses immediately from the treatment that this nation is very, very interested in putting on a first class 2006 World Junior Championship Track and Field competition to show they are more than capable of doing a superior quality job with the 2008 Olympic Games.  Affairs like this World Junior meet are typically given to sites for future World senior level competitions to work out the kinks, so with new construction, an army of volunteers necessary to pull off such an activity, all was not expected to go super smooth, but it was a very pleasant first day.


We were greeted at the airport by the nicest young  volunteers who all spoke respectable English and had a sign with our name on it that allowed us to avoid some of the stops that regular tourists go through in coming into a country, and we were whisked away quickly from the crowd.  We could have waited for the shuttle, which was taking some other press types to the meet press hotel, or take a taxi, and we decided the latter.  It was probably a 15-20 minute drive though light traffic in the morning to the Yu Yuan Meet Press headquarters, with time for a short nap after we checked in.  In mid-morning we had a knock on our door and another of the huge army of pleasant teenage volunteers informed us that if we would like to go out to the Kunlun IAAF Media Center to secure our credentials for the week the van would leave at 9:30 and we could go or wait until later. We opted to head to the beautiful Kunlun hotel and quickly were given our badges to wear for the weekend that secured us entry to the facilities we needed to go to at the stadium itself.  From the Kunlun Hotel we were taken to the Media Center at the actual meet site, and were greeted with a super set up there with internet access and all the amenities one could hope for within about a half a block walk from the stadium itself.  We were told we could have lunch there at noon, and with some time before lunch we walked over past the actual competition stadium, over to the practice track, where it seemed a few hundred athletes were milling and finishing up a morning practice.


We were allowed to go into the main stadium at the Chaoyang Sports Center, and it is a super facility in a great stadium setting, with arched coverings for weather protection over both sets of bleachers and cozy seating for 10,000, with hopefully some good crowds in the coming week.  The locals will do some real damage in this meet, and it is hoped the fans of China will come out to support them and view the great action.  The stadium will be a great backdrop to the super action on the track and in the field.

Chaoyang Sports Center - site of the World Juniors in Beijing





The practice track began to give one the truly special feeling of such a competition as this.  As one glanced around you saw athletes in the sweat uniforms of South Africa, Kenya, France, Finland, and you name it.  Once sensed that air of competitive readiness in all at the facility as quick and talented athletes cruised up and down the straightaways, practiced the jumps (throwers were on another field), lifted weights that were available, stretched, and were treated by the training staffs available.  Controlled power is the best way to describe the atmosphere there, as these top teenage athletes in the world put the final polishing touches on months and years of preparation, careful to save the needed competitive juices for a world level competition and performances in the next week.  After some time at the track, with most of the American team arriving about 9:00 am and having left, we talked a bit with Ken Brauman and Rita Somerlot, veteran coaches of the international scene, and one sensed a quiet excitement they felt for the potential for the next week with their US group.


From the practice track we headed over for a buffet lunch at the competition site media center, with a choice of a number of main plates and all the food you could ask for.  With a bit of time before our bus headed back to our Yu Yang Hotel, Mike and I slipped into one of the Press lounges, set the alarm on my watch (which of course did not go off), but we were tracked down by our trusty volunteers at 1:27 for the 1:30 bus. 


After our very pleasant introduction to the meet press mechanics, local organizing committee and their overwhelmingly helpful style, and the super facility, we headed back to the Yu Yang Press Headquarters Hotel, secure that we were headed for a super week of involvement with our sport.  The meet does not start for two days, with a press conference scheduled for tomorrow and meeting for photographers, of which Doug Speck is also credentialed for, later tomorrow afternoon.  Anyone who runs a track meet should be introduced to the internal workings of such an international affair, as the attention to every detail is really inspirational for setting up a competitive scene to allow excellence out on the track and in the field.  It is going to be a great week in Beijing!!



World Junior Championships index page