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News08 May 2023

WCH23 hosts tree planting ceremony as LOC announce their sustainability program


WA CEO, Jon Ridgeon attended WCH23 tree planting ceremony. (© Zsigmond László)

The organizers of the World Athletics Championships Budapest 2023 have given special attention to sustainability aspects throughout the organization of the Championships, in line with the World Athletics Sustainability Strategy 2020. The comprehensive program was unveiled on 8 May during a press event at an urban forest in Budapest, where 40 trees were planted to symbolize sustainability.

By planting the mini forest, the organizers not only highlighted the importance of sustainability and environmental protection, but also commemorated the 40th anniversary of the World Athletics' first World Outdoor Championships in 1983. Pupils from the sports department of the Gyulai István Primary School also attended the event and, after the tree-planting ceremony, had the chance to try out the renewed forest running circuit with World Championships ambassador Balázs Baji.

"The World Championships are not just about the nine-day competition, but also about the positive legacy the event leaves behind. To this end, we are implementing our comprehensive sustainability program, which focuses on mobilizing the country's population, developing urban green spaces, public transport, waste management, and raising awareness of environmental issues," said Balázs Németh, CEO of Budapest 2023 Nonprofit Zrt.

The CEO of World Athletics, Jon Ridgeon also attended the event and praised the Hungarian organizers' efforts in promoting sustainability. "Both World Athletics and the Local Organizing Committee are committed to leaving a sustainable and positive legacy for the future of the World Championships in Budapest. This tree planting is a significant event for the local community," he said.

The National Athletics Centre is a brownfield project that has resulted in the complete rehabilitation of a previously contaminated site due to industrial activity. The brand-new sports facility and its surroundings will host the world's third-largest sporting event from August 19 to 27 and will transform into a recreational park open to the public from 2024.

Last autumn, over 500 trees and 2,000 shrubs were planted in the park, and 40 more trees were planted close stadium. The greening program will continue with the planting of thousands more trees in Budapest in cooperation with a local forestry company.

The World Championships’ sustainability program also includes environmentally friendly waste management, particularly through the reduction of PET bottle consumption, which is a common problem at events. This will be achieved through the use of water balloons, drinking fountains, and reusable water bottles.

Green transport will also play a significant role, with spectators arriving at the National Athletics Centre via public transportation. Thanks to an agreement with the MÁV-Volán group, fans from all over the country can travel to Budapest at a reduced fare of HUF 2023.

The project will prioritize local, domestic partners to achieve national economic and environmental goals by reducing carbon emissions and transport costs.

Making the event accessible and affordable for all is a crucial component of the World Athletics Championships' commitment to social responsibility. Compared to other global events, ticket and package prices are affordable, with an additional 50% discount for those who are active in sports through the World Championships Supporters' Club. The Organizing Committee is also encouraging more schoolchildren to participate in the World Championships through its Schoolhero program, and has launched several initiatives to offer discounted tickets to civic groups, workplace communities, and disadvantaged groups.

The 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest will be the largest sporting event in Hungary's history, taking place between August 19 and 27 at the National Athletics Centre and Heroes' Square, the venue for the marathon running and race walking events. Hundreds of thousands of spectators are expected to attend, with more than a billion people watching the event on television.

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