Countdown to the 2014 Sopot Indoor Championships.
More than 700 amateur athletes raced through the streets of Sopot on Thursday (28) to mark the 100-day countdown to the 2014 IAAF World Indoor Championships.
They were joined by IAAF Ambassador Wilson Kipketer, Denmark’s three-time World 800m champion, along with some of Poland’s top athletes, including 2009 World Pole Vault champion Anna Rogowska.
Meanwhile, the Ergo Arena – the venue of the World Indoor Championships – welcomed dozens of school children who took part in mini sports competitions and dance shows.
After the race, the special guests hung plaques with their names on the oak trees that line the avenue leading towards the Ergo Arena.
Kipketer is no stranger to Sopot. His long-time coach Slawomir Nowak is from Poland and as such Kipketer spent much time training in the country. In 1997, the year in which he went undefeated and won World titles indoors and out, Kipketer raced in Sopot and clocked 1:44.86, the fastest 800m time ever produced in the city.
While Kipketer’s World record was broken in 2010 by David Rudisha, the 40-year-old still holds the World indoor record at 1:42.67 – a mark that looks to be safe, given that no other man in history has broken 1:44 indoors.
But Sopot 2014 competition director Jerzy Smolarek hopes that Polish stars Adam Kszczot or Martin Lewnadowski could get close to that mark.
“Sopot has an amazing atmosphere and sporting infrastructure,” said Kipketer. “It’s a good place to hold this type of event. As the only global senior championships in 2014, for many athletes it will simply be the most important moment of the year, so we will see good results.”