The millennium climaxed in stylish but scorching Seville a demanding venue, where the “heat of competition” took on a whole new meaning for athletes and fans in the stadium cauldron: it was hotter than Doha in 2019 with no venue air-conditioning or evening only session concessions – brutal.
With daytime temperatures peaking at 42 C and with it remaining up to 31-32 C at 11 pm it was a challenging experience – on the back straight in the full sun at the start of an evening session it was impossible to sit in the allocated seats until the sun dipped below the home straight stand roof. With the venue mostly only 30-60% occupied finding shady seats was a game we all played at some stage.
The competition was never tepid and occasionally red, red hot. Michael Johnson cruised around the 400m final and frazzled the opposition with his 43.18 WR the stand-out performance of the championships. Michael Johnson 1999 video clip
Colin Jackson delivered again in the 110m H as GB’s sole gold medallist. Paul Radcliffe and Denise Lewis previewed later triumphs with superb Silvers, matched by the break-out performance of Dean Macey and the further progress of the Men’s 4x100m squad. Jonathan Edwards and Dwaine Chambers won Bronze medals as the GB team finished 4th in the 1st-8th Place Points Table behind USA, Germany & Russia. The only other WR at the event was Stacey Dragila in the fast developing PV with 4.60m. There were 10 Championship Records proving that the heat was not a hindrance in many events. However, for Jong Song-Ok, of North Korea, her Marathon win in a PB easily won the most unexpected champion award in surviving the horrendous daytime conditions that were a significant hindrance to most runners on the scorching Seville streets – no Doha type midnight starts with athlete welfare clearly not so important back then!
The dedicated T&FT stadium bus transfer service to / from our hotels – mostly just 2-4km from the stadium – may have seemed OTT before arrival but at the event it was a very, very much appreciated part of the arrangements for our group of 350+ fans with the sapping heat and patchy public transportation. To ensure these arrangements went to plan the ever reliable contribution of T&FT event staff played a vital role. Christine from our office plus Tony Copestake, Martin Riley and the indefatigable David Bland worked diligently in Seville. During this period David Bland was an ever present at major events with his charm, humour, love and knowledge of athletics and total competence making him an invaluable member of the T&FT team. Plus, his Seville leg in the Supporters Relay was an unofficial 800m WR for running with a clipboard brandishing T&FT Supporter’s newsletters – the people’s champion!
Steve Smythe’s ongoing excellent contribution writing the daily newsletters and the good selection of T&FT excursions to entertain clients outside of the stadium all combined to create a great “team spirit” within the party. Alan Pascoe & Dave Moorcroft honoured us with their presence at our T&FT Supporters Dinner Party at the fabulous Los Seises venue with the BBC filming the pre-event reception as a “colour piece” for their TV coverage the following day – 6 members of the group were interviewed for the 4 mins broadcast. We may all have spent a lot of time hot and sweaty at times during the event but it was mostly a very social and affable glow!
As a footnote the most unlucky man in Seville was the thief that attempted to steal a bag at Seville airport to then be run down by Maurice Green soon to be the 100m / 200 gold medallist.