MOSCOW, August 15 (R-Sport) – Pole vault world record holder Yelena Isinbayeva blames poor advertising by the Russian government and the country's athletics bosses for the sparse crowds at the ongoing world athletics championships in Moscow.
Even when Russian hero Isinbayeva won her third world title Tuesday, there were more than 1,500 empty seats, while the Luzhniki arena was half-empty when President Vladimir Putin spoke at Saturday's opening ceremony.
Her comments echo those made by IAAF president Lamine Diack in April, when he criticized Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev by name, saying they were not promoting the championships as much as last month's University Games or next year's Winter Olympics, also in Russia.
“Unfortunately, these things happen,” Isinbayeva said of the attendance, speaking in English. “Maybe because of that problem our government will pay more attention to our sport and will promote it. The crowd knows just a few names. So our federation has to work hard to promote other athletes and attract attention to them. We also do have problems with facilities in whole Russia.”
She added: “People maybe want to come to the world championships, but we don't have enough promotion of that ... Maybe we don't know how to do it and we have to learn it. For us it's the first time ever to organize such event as the world championships and, of course, we try to do our best.”
Isinbayeva said the competition was well run from an athlete's perspective, remarking that she was “satisfied with everything and had no complaints.”