Over 550,000 spectators attended the 9th World Championships in Athletics, putting an overwhelming seal of public approval on a hugely successful event. Prefect Jean Dussourd, President of the Organising Committee, was keen to thank all those who made the occasion so memorable. With enthusiastic fans who came out in massive numbers, a fabulous atmosphere in the stadium and a French team that made history by performing like never before, the Championships proved a runaway success in every way. At a post event press conference, Organising Committee President Jean Dussourd looked back over the nine days and was at pains to thank all those involved in the event: ?We have proved once again that when it comes to major events, we in France can always rise to the occasion. Many challenges were met. People wondered whether the Athletes Village would work but it did and it worked well. It was a hit and security was ensured. The stadium proved to be excellent from a technical perspective and demonstrated it is made for athletics. As for the transport, the service provided by RATP was extraordinary.? Jean Dussourd was full of praise for the 3,700 ?enthusiastic and efficient? Volunteers who worked tirelessly from start to finish. "From the welcome at the airport to accompanying athletes to the various venues, everyone was more than satisfied with the service the Volunteers provided ,? he said The figures all look better than expected too. ?At the end of 2002, we wondered whether we would fill the Stade de France®. We estimated we would need to sell 365,000 tickets to balance the books. At the D-100 mark we had reached that figure but we were still some way off full capacity. The last two months were excellent and during the competition itself we were selling up to 5,000 tickets a day." In all, 550,132 fans attended the championships, making 93% capacity. Almost two thirds of tickets were bought on the Internet. This success results from a number of factors relating to the organisation of these 9th World Championships. "An extensive ticketing network. A long term campaign in conjunction with the Ministry for Sport, the local authorities and the French Athletics Federation, along with a comprehensive and innovative communication campaign that stirred up interest,? explained Jean Dussourd. The atmosphere in the stadium and the entertainment laid on around it were very positive too.? The success of an event of this scale is also measured by the media coverage it receives. With 58 hours coverage over the nine days, France Télévisions has never broadcast so much athletics. And the viewing figures make for good reading. The event rewarded the channel with 24% market share, for an average of 2.7 million viewers. The women?s long jump, won so thrillingly by home hope Eunice Barber, was the most watched event, with 42% market share and 6.6 million viewers on France 2. In conclusion, the Organising Committee President wished to underline that the long term aim of these World Championships was to attract new would-be athletes to their local athletics clubs, particular young people from urban hotspots. Only then will the race have been won. Neven Luledzija, Paris
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