With the World Athletics Championships set to return to Europe next year for the first time since 2017, the world’s top athletes will once again have the privilege of running, jumping and throwing on a surface provided by the European Athletics Partner Mondo.
Budapest’s National Athletics Centre will stage the sport’s biggest event on the global calendar between 19-27 August next year and the nine-day competition in the Hungarian capital will be the 13th time that Mondo will have provided the track for the main stadium hosting the World Athletics Championships.
Also, no less than six of the last seven World Athletics Championships held since 2011 have featured Mondo tracks.
Work on the athletics track in Budapest had started at the end of October with the stabilisation of the foundations, following 20 months of stadium construction work once the demolition of the former industrial park on which the Centre is located had taken place in December 2020.
This was a prelude to the very first roll of the track being ceremonially unfurled on Friday 4 November 2022.
On hand to help roll out the first section of track was Balázs Baji, the 2017 World Athletics Championships 110m hurdles bronze medallist who, the year before, had taken silver over the barriers at the 2016 European Athletics Championships.
The first metres of the MONDO-type surface at the National Athletics Centre where athletics' superheroes will run during #Budapest2023 were laid down by WCH bronze medallist Hungarian hurdler Balázs Baji and Balázs Németh, CEO of LOC. #budapest23 #wabudapest23 #wchbudapest23 pic.twitter.com/MI45oDHpGG— World Athletics Championships Budapest 23 (@wabudapest23) November 6, 2022
"The World Athletics Championships between 19-27 of August next year will be the biggest sporting event of 2023, watched by more than a billion people. It is with great honour and pride that this will be hosted by Budapest in our newly built athletics centre,” commented Budapest 23 Local Organising Committee CEO Balazs Nemeth.
“I am sure that the superheroes of athletics will be able to achieve many records, thanks in part to the outstanding quality of the track," added Nemeth, who helped Baji ceremonially lay the first five metres of track.
The track installation, and other stadium work including the laying of the infield, has since been progressing at a furious pace in the subsequent month and is almost completed.
Located on the banks of the River Danube in Budapest’s 9th district, just to the south of the city centre, the National Athletics Centre and its associated stadium will be a world-class facility that will provide a focal point for athletics, not just in Hungary but across central Europe.
The athletics track that is being installed is the same Mondotrack WS surface that has been used for the athletics events at the last two Olympic Games in Rio and Tokyo.
Although the track is designed to provide a surface for high-level performance it will also be a legacy that will be extended to Budapest’s community for years to come.
“After the Championships, once the temporary seating has been removed, under the canopy of the roof there will be a sports park and a running track for the public and the stadium with all its facilities will be open for public use. The Center will become part of the open green public park on the bank of the Danube,” commented Marcel Ferencz, senior designer of Napur Architect Kft, who have been the creative vision behind the National Athletics Center.
Hungarian hurdler Balázs Baji received a special gift: the Italian MONDO, which made the track surface for the National Athletics Centre, brought him a hurdle bar from the WCH London 2017, where he won bronze and achieved the greatest success of his life. #Budapest2023 pic.twitter.com/pqQn8iUd9m— World Athletics Championships Budapest 23 (@wabudapest23) November 6, 2022
More than 14,000m2 of track is being laid at the Center, which equates to more than 700 rolls of surface material – with each roll containing approximately 20 metres of track – that has been shipped from the Mondo factory in the Italian city of Alba.
In turn, by completion, workers will have spent approximately 2400 man-hours on site installing the track and making sure that everything is perfect well in advance of the Championships in eight months’ time.