Budapest officially awarded 2023 IAAF World Championships

Budapest 2023

The Hungarian capital of Budapest has been officially awarded the IAAF World Championships in 2023. Photo credit: IAAF

The Hungarian capital city of Budapest was awarded the IAAF World Athletics Championships in 2023 at the IAAF Council in Monaco on Tuesday (4) which means the World Championships will return to European soil after a six year hiatus following Doha in 2019 and Eugene in 2021.

Budapest is an experienced organiser of major athletics events, having hosted the IAAF World Indoor Championships in 1989 and 2004, one of just two cities to have staged the event twice. The city has also hosted both the European Athletics Championships (1966, 1998) and the European Athletics Indoor Championships (1983 and 1988) on two occasions. Budapest has also been awarded the title of European Capital of Sport for 2019.

"In the past 30 years Hungary has organised every single world and European Championships, indoor and out - on the road, cross country – available to us except for the World Athletics Championships, and we are incredibly proud that this collection will be complete in just under five years’ time," said European Athletics Council member Marton Gyulai, CEO of the Bid Committee for Budapest 2023.

Gyulai was joined on the Budapest delegation in Monaco by reigning world and European indoor shot put champion Anita Marton, deputy mayor of Budapest Alexandra Szalay-Bobrovniczky and the Government Commissioner for International Sport Bids in Hungary Balazs Furjes. 

A key component of the bid is the construction of a new stadium that will serve primarily as an athletics facility. The new stadium will be built on the eastern bank of the Danube River on the city’s south side, with a capacity of 40,000 for the championships, which will be reduced to 15,000 for future events.

European Athletics President Svein Arne Hansen has been resolute in his desire to see the IAAF World Championships return to European soil.

After the European Athletics Council Meeting in Lausanne last September, Hansen said: "I am convinced that we have to be in Europe in 2023 for the IAAF World Championships. As shown by the spectacular success of the World Championships in London, Europe is the centre of the athletics world and our athletes and fans deserve the stage the we can provide in any number of cities in 2023.

"The IAAF must follow these two editions by ensuring 2023 is awarded to a city in Europe, especially taking into account it has now switched to a more targeted approach to event allocation instead of official bidding.

Budapest is the first IAAF World Championships host to be named under the new bidding process announced in February 2017 through which the IAAF assesses its strategic goals for growing the sport, targeting cities from countries and regions which will best assist in delivery of those aims. The aim is to create a true partnership matching the hopes and ambitions of potential hosts with those of the IAAF.

“We have been trying to become a partner for the IAAF as opposed to just a bidding city. As part of that process we have also been able to offer advice on seeing from the outside of things how things can be fine-tuned,” Gyulai added.