Portland will host international indoor track and field championship

Portland will host international indoor track and field championship
Ashton Eaton, world record holder in decathlon and Olympic gold medalist, and Gail Shibley, chief of staff to Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, celebrate Portland’s winning bid. (Photo courtesy City of Portland)

PORTLAND, Ore. – Oregon’s track and field reputation got another boost on Friday when Portland was selected to host the 2016 World Indoor Track and Field Championships.

A panel at the International Association of Athletics Federations unanimously decided to award the championship to Portland over Birmingham, England. The IAAF is the world governing body for track and field.

“This is incredible news for a city and a state already steeped in a great track and field tradition,” said Mayor Charlie Hales.

The IAAF president said both cities had “wonderful bids,” but they ultimately picked Portland because they are trying to grow the sport in the United States. Track got a big boost in England thanks to the London Olympics and several other major IAAF events are being held in the UK.

“It allows us to showcase the sport in the States and leaves the UK with a consistent series of high profile athletics events in the coming years,” said USA Track and Field President Stephanie Hightower. “This decision adds momentum and an exciting frame work to international athletics allowing us to create a logical narrative which shows the world where we are going as a sport.”

The Portland meet will be organized by TrackTown USA, the same group that organized past Olympic trials in Eugene.

The group is also organizing the 2014 World Junior Championships, 2015 U.S. Outdoor Track and Field Championships and 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials at Hayward Field in Eugene.

“By winning this bid we hope to ignite a spark that will be felt globally,” said TrackTown USA President Vin Lananna.