A record number of 179 nations will compete in Bressanone/Brixen World Youth Championships - Sudtirol 2009. Athletes are coming from as far as 18,600 km and 13 hours time difference. Opening Ceremony on July 7th.
"Südtirol 2009" is setting a new participation record for World Youth Championships. 2012 accredited individuals (of which 1321 athletes) from 179 nations of 213 member states of the international track and field federation IAAF are expected in Bressanone/Brixen.
This is also by far the largest number of participants for any sport event ever hosted in South Tyrol.
Aruba, Cook Islands, Nauru, Kiribati, Comoros, Mariana Islands, Micronesia or Palau: never heard of them? The World Youth Championships "Südtirol 2009" taking place in Bressanone/Brixen from July 8th to 12th has the answer.
Aruba & Co. are only a few of the most interesting and lesser known participating countries. Almost all of the world's 193 independent countries and the 20 additional member IAAF member states (e.g., Palestine) have qualified for starting at the WYC.
The official list of participating countries obtained by WYC Event Manager Stefano Andreatta from the IAAF spans from A as in Afghanistan to Z as in Zimbabwe. 179 is the new record for World Youth Championships. Marrakesh held the previous record when 177 nations participated at the WYC in Morocco in 2005.
The total comprises 45 countries from Europe, 39 from Africa, 36 from Asia, 29 from Middle and North America, 18 from Oceania and 12 from South America.
None of the WYC guests should be too concerned about the swine flu as Mexico decided to withhold its participation due to that very reason. The Netherlands is the larger country not to send anyone.
They never participate in World Youth Championships. Also Hassan al-Boliah, the Sultan of Brunei and richest state leader of the world will not send any athletes to Bressanone/Brixen.
The coral island of Nauru (Oceania) is with a total size of 21 km2 and a population of 10,000 people the smallest participating country by two parameters.
On the other spectrum we have Russia (17,075,200 km2) and the People's Republic of China (1.33 billion people).
2012 people are accredited including coaches and support staff. 1321 are athletes (760 boys and 561 girls). The largest contingent is from the USA (51 athletes) ahead of the host country Italy (48).
The highest number of officials will be attending from Italy and Rumania. New Zealand is furthest away - the distance between the capital Wellington and Bressanone/Brixen is 18,600 km.
However, nearby micro states in the Pacific will have an even longer travel itinerary. Travel will also be harder for countries like Palestine, Israel or Somalia - not due to distance but due to security measures.
Matteo Didioni will have the easiest travel. The only representative of South Tyrol lives but a few 100 yards from the Stadium.
The Opening Ceremony is taking place on July 7th at 6:00 pm and we hope that all athletes will have made their way to Bressanone/Brixen by then. Some will probably still suffer from some jet lag - West Samoa is 13 hours behind Bressanone/Brixen.