Seville has a history of hosting grandiose events, including those featuring sport and athletics. The city has two major soccer clubs, a basketball league, two rugby and one equestrian team and is the seat of the Spanish Soccer Selection. On a tamer note, the world chess championship was recently held here.
However, it is in the world of athletics that this Andalusian city really comes out a winner, particularly this year when Seville will host the 7th World Athletics Championship. Ever since the presentation of pre-candidature in early February, 1994, the city has been preparing for this great sports event to be held at the Olympic Stadium next month. This magnificent stadium was officially opened on May 5th and has a capacity for more than 60,000 spectators with 40,000 parking places. It is also conveniently located just 10 minutes from both the airport and train station.
The construction of the stadium was funded by the Andalusian government, the Spanish government, the Provincial Council of Seville and the City Council of Seville. On 2nd November 1995, the Olympic Stadium Society was formed with the participation of local football clubs, Seville FC and Real Betis Balompié, together with the Isla Mágica (Magic Island) Society, and the management committee of the theme and leisure park of the same name. Local architects, Antonio Ortiz and Antonio Cruz were selected for the design having already been responsible for the aforementioned Santa Justa train station in Seville and the Community of Madrid Stadium.
In addition to the stadium venue, the marathon will take place throughout the historic part of the capital. This will be fully televised and will include the route of the Guadalquivir river on Cartuja island situated parallel to the river with a length of some 2.500 metres.
According to an IAAF spokesman, more than 2,000 athletes from around the world are expected to arrive in the city to prepare and train for the championship at one of five training centres, including the San Pablo Sports Complex - the site of the 1991 World Covered Track Championship.
The World Athletics Championship will kick off with an opening ceremony on 20th August. This has been created by Manuel Coronado, responsible, among other things, for the lake performance and closing ceremony of Expo 92, as well as the opening and closing of the Sierra Nevada World Alpine Ski Championship in 1996.
The ceremony is called 'Sons of Hercules' and will represent the mythological hero, founder of the city of Seville, who reaches immortality and comes to crown the victors of the Games. The brilliant Cordovian dancer, Joaquin Cortés will perform at the opening ceremony. Cortés has reached international fame with his own company: Joaquin Cortés Flamenco and his 'Pasión Gitana' spectacular has been performed world-wide.
More than 3,026 volunteers are currently training for the championship while some 66 hotels are preparing themselves for the influx of more than 3,000 people. Due to the heat, for the first time in the history of the World Championships, only 4 morning sessions will take place (plus the ladies marathon). The timetable will run from Saturday 21st August until Sunday 29th August and will include the following events: steeplechase, discus, high/long/triple jump, javelin, hammer, pole vault, 110m hurdles, 50 km walk, and decathlon. Tickets range from just 1,000 pesetas to 8,500 for a day and 5,000 pesetas to 62,000 pesetas for the most expensive seats. The cost of entry to the opening ceremony is not included in these prices. These similarly range from 1,000 pesetas to 10,000 pesetas. Apparently a third of all tickets have been sold abroad to date. The countries who have purchased the highest number of season tickets up until now are Great Britain, the USA and Germany.
Hotels are likely to be fully booked, so you would be advised to try the more modest pensiones and hostels. The most attractive area to stay is the Barrio Santa Cruz, the medieval Jewish quarter where best idea would be to just wander around and see which have space. The nearest campsite is some 12 kms out along the Carmono road and there's a bus to/from the city every half-hour. There will also be a regular shuttle service operating from the centre of the city to the Olympic Stadium.