August 18 - Organisers of the 2015 International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships in Beijing announced here today that they will restrict the 80,000-capacity Bird's Nest stadium to 54,000 for the event, and that they are confident they will have full crowds.
Shen Chunde, vice-president of the Chinese Athletic Association (CAA), explained that only the lower and middle tiers of the Bird's Nest Stadium, with respective capacities of 30,000 and 24,000, would be used for the Championships, which are due to be held from August 29 until September 6 following consultation of likely weather patterns.
"If there are more spectators coming we will open the seats on the third level," he said.
The third tier has a capacity of 27,000.
Chunde added: "If there are 50,000 spectators coming to see the Championships it's a very good result for us."
Speaking on the final day of the 14th IAAF World Championships, where there has been much criticism of empty seats, particularly in morning sessions and on the freakishly hot opening weekend, Li Jinkang, deputy director general of the Beijing Sports Administration, expressed confidence that Beijing would not encounter a similar problem.
"We have many powerful ticket-selling companies in Beijing that can help us to promote the event and to enhance ticket-selling," he said.
"Another point is that we want to enhance the attractiveness of our event - then we can expect that more people can buy tickets and come into the stadium.
"We want to make our event colourful and attractive.
"We are confident that ticket-selling and spectators will have a very good result."
Li Yingchuan, director general of the Beijing Sports Administration, added that a scheme had already been set up to involve local schoolchildren in attending the Championships.
"We have been promoting this athletics event to the young people," he said.
"We plan to give some free tickets to the children to view the events in the stadium so they can learn more about athletics."
Li Yingchuan said that the IAAF World Challenge event held May 21 at the Stadium which hosted the 2008 Olympics, which is due to be held again next year, would serve as a vital test event for the 2015 Championships .
This year's inaugurual Beijing World Challenge event attracted 54,000 spectators.
He added that, once next year's World Challenge event was over, Bird's Nest warm-up stadium would undergo "comprehensive renovation", with the indoor and outdoor track being replaced to bring them up to IAAF Class 1 quality.
Athletes arriving in Beijing will be able to access dedicated training camps in the immediate area.
Li Yingchuan also promised "professional, considerate and humanistic security measures".
Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]
November 2010: Beijing awarded 2015 World Championships after London withdrawal
October 2010: London bid for 2015 World Athletics Championships withdrawn
June 2010: London left to battle Beijing for 2015 World Athletics Championships
March 2010: London and Beijing Olympic Stadiums both bid for 2015 World Athletics Championships