5000 people attended the colourful Opening Ceremony of the 6th IAAF WYC last night on a picturesque Cathedral Square in Bressanone/Brixen.
Four of South Tyrol’s top athletes lead by Olympic gold medalist Alex Schwazer carried the flag of the host country to the square.
The Governor of South Tyrol Luis Durnwalder officially opened the 6th IAAF World Youth Championship in front of young athletes from 180 nations at 6:37 pm. The competitions start tomorrow at 9:30 am.
Participating athletes from 180 nations along with South Tyrol’s political elite and many spectators started to take their standing positions on the Cathedral Square to the sounds of the citizen’s band from Bressanone/Brixen.
There were approximately 5000 people attending the colorful ceremony. The performance was moderated by Gernot Mussner. The official part of the ceremony started at 6:24 pm when four of South Tyrol’s most popular athletes carried the host country’s flag to the Cathedral Square.
Olympic gold medalist Alex Schwazer was welcomed to a big applause. He was accompanied by Christian Obrist from Bressanone/Brixen (Olympic finalist in 1500m), Silvia Weissteiner (WC finalist in 5000m) and the former heptathlon athlete Gertrud Bacher (2003 WC 6th).
Mayor Albert Pürgstaller took the microphone. He welcomed the participants in six languages including the German dialect of South Tyrol. Mr. Pürgstaller stated what a great honor it is for the city of Bressanone/Brixen to host the WYC.
His emotional speech was followed by FIDAL President Franco Arese ahead of IAAF Lamine Diack (from Senegal) who praised the beautiful region of South Tyrol. Mr. Diack stated his belief that the WYC constitutes a great platform for the athletics super stars of tomorrow. Local Governor Luis Durnwalder followed next.
It was 6:37pm when he officially opened the WYC - in three languages: “It is a great honor to open the 6th IAAF World Youth Championships “Südtirol 2009”. The speeches were followed by a 25-minute-long performance which terminated with a brief review of the 1100 year old history of the city of Bressanone/Brixen.
Martina Cattoi and Heather Sebastiani lead the choreography. The performance ended with university students of the local three universities throwing colorful confetti into the blue sky above the city.
Fortunately, the weather was cooperative as the blue sky was replaced by some thunderstorms shortly after the ceremony concluded.