The press could hear new information about the greatest one-day athletics event in Croatia at the press conference, which was held exactly one week before the 2009 IAAF Zagreb Grand Prix.[:]
After the introductory words and congratulations to the Croatian athletes for their successes at the World Championships in Berlin, expressed by Djurdja Focic-Sourek and Gordana Pokrajcic on behalf of the City of Zagreb, and Velimir Basic, Secretary General of the Zagreb Sports Association, Ivana Brkljacic, Meeting Director, informed those present about the most important news.
“Instead of Dayron Robles, 110m Hurdles Olympic Champion and world record holder, who sustained an injury in Berlin, we managed to negotiate the participation of Veronica Campbell-Brown, reigning Olympic 200m Champion. Of course, the participation of Croatian athletes is most important to us; they will be led by Blanka Vlasic and World Championships finalists Andras Haklits and Sandra Perkovic. There will also be Richard Thompson, Olympic 100m silver medallist, Primoz Kozmus, Olympic and World Hammer Throw Champion, World Shot Put Champion Christian Cantwell, Olympic Shot Put Champion Tomasz Majewski and many others”, Brkljacic pointed out and shared really impressive figures:
“Eight gold, eight silver and five bronze medallists from the World Championships in Berlin will compete at the Mladost Stadium, as will around 20 Olympic medallists from Beijing.
Apart from already mentioned Blanka, Kozmus and Cantwell, Zagreb will also host new World Champions Michael Frater and Steve Mullings (4x100m), Ryan Brathwaite (110m hurdles), Melanie Walker (400m hurdles) and Yargelis Savigne (Triple Jump).
Besides the main event, which will take place at the Mladost Sports Park on 31 August, beginning at 17:30, an interesting introduction will take place two days earlier.
“An athletics event will be held in Zagreb’s main square, Ban Jelacic Square, on 29 August at 10:00 am. It will start with a shot put competition of the world’s best junior shot putters, followed by one featuring Croatian public figures. An athletics playgroup with numerous prizes will be organized for children. I expect that a few stars of the Meeting will come directly from the airport to say hello to Zagreb’s citizens”, Brkljacic said.
The Meeting Director was in Berlin in the past few days; there, she heard interesting news regarding the future of the Zagreb Grand Prix, locally called Hanzek.
“The most important thing for the future of the Meeting is that it is going to be a part of the IAAF World Challenge series, in the group of meetings below the Diamond League. I believe that in the further future, we have a chance to become a part of the Diamond League, because we have a good meeting, but the stadium does not have enough seating capacity. Guests from the IAAF will come to this year’s Meeting and right after the competition, there will be talks about the future of the Meeting”, Brkljacic added.
Gordana Pokrajcic, Director of the Zagreb Holding Sports Facilities Management Branch, gave information about the Mladost Stadium.
“We will soon publish a tender for the architectural design of the reconstruction of the whole Mladost Sports Park. I believe that next year, we shall have a real athletics stadium that Zagreb deserves.”
Let us add that the tickets for this year’s Meeting are free of charge. They can be picked up at the Mladost Sports Park box office workdays from 12 to 19 and weekends from 10 to 19.