Merritt voices crowd concerns

2013-08-11 14:00
Aries Merritt (AFP)

Moscow - Olympic 110 metres hurdles champion Aries Merritt echoed many athletes disappointment at the lack of spectators at the world athletics championships on Sunday at the Luzhniki Stadium.

The 28-year-old American - who is also the world record holder in the event - won his first round heat in Moscow on Sunday in front of a sparsely populated crowd, which followed on from a disappointing attendance on the opening day on Saturday.

Organisers have claimed 80 percent of tickets have been sold for the nine day championships, and will be hoping for a full house later on Sunday for the men's 100m semi-finals and final, with the biggest drawcard in the sport Usain Bolt appearing.

The average price for tickets is 1000 rubles ($30) which is regarded as affordable for ordinary Muscovites.

"Obviously I'm not happy to run at an almost empty arena," said Merritt, who has had an injury-affected season.

"I'd like the venue to be fuller so I can feed off the the crowd's energy.

"In London (at last year's Olympics) it was very important to feel that the crowd is with you. To feel the energy the crowd gives you.

"It's exciting and you're happy to be at the stadium.

"But I guess it's too early and I will give the crowd a 'bye' this time.

"I just hope the venue will be packed for the final on Monday."

British star Mo Farah had said that the contrast between his emotional victory in the Olympic 10,000m final and his win in Saturday's world final was stark in terms of the crowd but added he just got on with it.

"It's hard work," said the 31-year-old, who will bid to repeat his Olympic double gold in the 5000m later in the week.

"Sometimes it's just easier to go out in the race and do it like my 1500m race in Monaco where I just went out there and ended up running a personal best," he added.

Slovenia's 2008 Olympic men's hammer champion Primoz Kozmus was bitterly disappointed by the turnout on Saturday.

"The arena and sector are great. I just hope there will be more of a crowd during Monday's final," said the 33-year-old, who is bidding to regain his world title.

The sparse attendance was even picked up by Brett Gosper, chief executive of the International Rugby Board, who put on the World Cup sevens in the same venue in June, attracting very disappointing crowds after initial claims they had sold 104 000 tickets proved to be far from the case.

"Athletics World Champs demonstrating again after Rugby World Cup Sevens that Moscow sporting crowds are not so easy to gather," the Australian tweeted.


What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Live scoring

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Patriotism aside, who do you feel deserved to win the 2017 Laureus Breakthrough of the Year award?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.