EUGENE, Ore. — Track coaches from around the world are in Eugene this week to prepare for the World Junior Championships happening at Hayward Field in July.
Organizers say this is the first time the event will be held in the U.S.
Coaches from Great Britain, France and Italy toured Hayward Field and the University of Oregon on Tuesday.
“This is preparation. I want to bring to them information, pictures. I want to say to my athletes some motivation,” said Stephano Baldin, Italy Head Coach.
The group also toured dorms and other areas on campus athletes will be using next summer. Organizers say they are expecting close to 1,800 competitors. The coaches say as former track athletes, seeing the track in person is something they’ve always wanted to do.
“You can’t fail to feel the little atmosphere this creates. It’s just nice to come and actually walk on the track and see everything I’ve heard so much about,” said Jo Jennings, Great Britain Team Leader.
“It’s my first time here, and it’s fantastic. This is the house of athletics, full of history,” Baldini said.
All coaches say their teams are excited to experience one of the biggest stages in the world for track and field athletes and also to see what their favorite things are while they’re visiting.
“I think just walking around the track really,” Jennings said.
“My favorite thing is the city of Eugene. It’s a very quiet city. It’s a good thing for the athletes to be in a quiet environment,” said Olivier Belloc, France Head Coach.
“It’s a nice place for training and learning athletics and to do everything you want to do in sports. Congratulations on your facility. (it’s) better than Italy’s,” Baldini said.
Event organizers say they are still unsure when tickets will go on sale. They expect around 200 countries to compete in July but most will arrive early and start training around the state.