European stars at the IAAF Diamond League in Paris next Friday – including reigning world and European 400m hurdles champion Karsten Warholm who has also broken the European record in his specialist discipline this year – will be the first elite athletes to get a chance to try out the new Mondo Sportflex Super X 720 track that has been laid in the French capital’s Charlety Stadium ahead of next year’s European Athletics Championships at the same venue.
Completion of the track finished just over a week ago with approximately 11,000m2 installed with 260 rolls in blue of the pre-fabricated 13.5mm thick surface being delivered for the main track and another 240 rolls for the outfield areas, all the rolls arriving in Paris by lorry from Mondo’s factory in the Italian town of Gallo d’Alba.
The organisers of the Paris 2020 European Athletics Championships have made sustainability one of its key priorities and policies. One example of this is the close proximity of the selected venues: it’s only about five minutes’ walk between the Charlety Stadium and the Cité Universitaire where the athletes will be accommodated so athletes will arrive at the stadium on foot, reducing the carbon footprint of the event.
It was also this issue of sustainability and restricting the environmental impact that led to Mondo being chosen to provide the new track.
The track manufacturing plant in Gallo d’Alba is certified as meeting the requirements of International Standards ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001:201; which respectively relate to a company being able to demonstrate its ability to consistently provide products and services that meet customer and applicable statutory and regulatory requirements, and an organisation’s environmental management system that it uses to enhance its environmental performance and manage its environmental responsibilities in a systematic manner.
The manufacturing facilities are equipped with a 4.6 MWp photovoltaic system which prevents the release into the atmosphere of around 2000 tons of CO2 (carbon dioxide) per year. Mondo also carefully select their raw materials so that their track surfacing products contain approximately 38% of contaminant-free recycled materials and approximately 10% of rapidly renewable materials.
All of Mondo’s products are heavy-metal free and guarantee emission of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in compliance with the most stringent air quality standards, contributing to clean air in and around stadia where they have installed tracks and fighting against air pollution, which has an obvious detrimental impact on athletes' health and performance. (Mondo products are classified as non-hazardous waste with EWC Code 170203.)
Mondo and the French capital have a long association.
They were the track provider for the 2003 AAF World Championships in the Parisian suburb of St. Denis and also provided the track for the 1997 IAAF World Indoor Championships at the Palais Omnisports de Paris Bercy where Denmark’s Wilson Kipketer memorable set world indoor 800m records in both his heat and final.
No less than 12 world records, indoor and out, have been set on on Mondo tracks in Paris, including two of Sergey Bubka’s plethora of pole vault world records: his 5.88m mark in 1984 in the old St Denis stadium and his barrier-breaking 6.00m vault in the Jean Bouin Stadium, across the road from the Parc des Princes.
European records by France’s Jimmy Vicaut, who ran 9.86 for 100m in 2015, and his compatriot Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad, whose continental 3000m steeplechase mark of 8:00.09 dates from 2013, were set on the Stade de France’s Mondo track at IAAF Diamond League meetings.
It will be interesting to see what standards are set in the Charlety Stadium on Friday, a year in advance of the European Athletics Championships there.