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SBD Global/August 13, 2013/Events and Attractions

Thin Crowds Again Plague Third Day Of World Athletics Championships In Moscow

The women's 100m was contested Monday in front of a half-empty Luzhniki Stadium.
Athletes were "again left staring into empty space" on the third day of the World Athletics Championships at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium "where the lack of crowds has become as big a talking point as the performances on the track," according to Alison Wildey of REUTERS. After winning his 400m hurdles heat on Monday, Olympic Gold Medalist Felix Sanchez said, "It's dead. There's no atmosphere. It's like night and day compared to London last year." After the unprecedented support in London, where every session was packed out, "many of the same athletes have been plying their trade almost anonymously, with only the world's media for company at the event which began on Saturday." Not even the presence of the sport's biggest name, Usain Bolt, and the showpiece men's 100m final on Sunday "could persuade the locals out of their homes and the Jamaican celebrated his win in a stadium two-thirds full." The morning sessions, which consist of heats and combined events, "have been hit hardest and the stands are practically deserted as world-class athletes at the peak of fitness ply their trade while the noise of the PA system echoes unintelligibly around the vast stadium." It is left to a few hundred dedicated Ukrainians, all dressed in blue or yellow tops, "to brighten the atmosphere by enthusiastically clapping and cheering their country's athletes, though their isolated outbursts of noise serve only to emphasize the emptiness" (REUTERS, 8/12).
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