IAAF Vice President Sergey Bubka has underlined the importance of junior sports events to engage young people at the conclusion of the IAAF World Youth Championships in Donetsk.
The hugely successful five day event, which was supported by a number of former stars, included hundreds of young athletes and their families experiencing major championship competition for the first time.
Donetsk native Bubka, who is also an IOC Executive Board Member and the President of Ukrainian NOC, commented: "It is very important not only for athletics itself but for Olympic Movement in general to involve families in sport. Supporting their kids going for sports and being proud of them competing at any level, parents are doing a tremendous job encouraging a young generation to choose an active and healthy way of life.
"I'd like to give my thanks to great champions Ato Boldon, Natalya Dobrynska, Olga Bryzgina, Nina Ziuskova, Konstantin Volkov, Iryna Lischynska and many others who share their experience with the young generation. My dear colleagues, you were the integral part of the success of the championship. It is key for the future of the sport to use the knowledge of Olympic athletes, to involve them as role models for the kids."
IAAF General Secretary Essar Gabriel praised the Donetsk organizing committee and believes the event helped to further the profile of athletics amongst young people.
He said: "We have seen a lot enthusiasm and great efforts to create the best possible conditions for athletes, coaches, officials and the spectators here in Donetsk. Due to these efforts, the 2013 IAAF World Youth Championships had some fantastic statistics. The representatives of 52 countries reached the finals; 37 countries won medals; there were two new World Youth Best Performances; and 29 World Youth Leading results in 2013 were set in Donetsk. We had also 84 accredited mass media – a record figure for the World Youth Championships – and high quality TV coverage.
"Ukraine demonstrated here in Donetsk that it has great opportunities, enthusiasm and expertise for hosting major sport championships, which makes the country a potential bidder for the next global events."
Sergey Bubka thanked the IAAF which in 2010 entrusted Donetsk to host the first ever IAAF Championships in Ukraine. He also praised national and local government institutions for close cooperation with the organizing committee and their contribution to the success of the Championships.
Bubka agreed with General Secretary Essar Gabriel that the event was a success.
He added: "It was one the best IAAF Youth World Championships in the history of the event – both in terms of the organization and the competitions. We had perfect conditions at the competition venue and training facilities, as well as great accommodation and a fantastic atmosphere, resulting in 746 personal best results established at the RSC 'Olympiysky'. That means that almost half of the participants have broken their personal bests."