Slide: World Championships in Athletics opens

Updated:2011-08-27 19:30


The 9-day World Championships in Athletics was officially opened in the South Korean city of Daegu on Saturday evening with a record number of athletes.

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak declared the opening of the championships at the 66,422-seat Daegu Stadium.

Following it is a 75-minute lavish opening ceremony performance, which is composed of five parts -- "gathering", "preparing", " awakening", "sprinting" and "dreams coming true".

The Daegu World Championships is held under the slogan of " Sprint Together for Tomorrow".

A total of 1,945 athletes from 202 countries and regions will be competing for medals in the other 46 events, after Kenya's three runners have swept the women's marathon on Saturday morning. Of this year's athletes, 1,046 are men and 899 are women.

The United States sends the largest number of athletes with a total of 155, followed by Russia's 73, Britain's 59 and Germany's 57.

Caribbean formidable athletics power Jamaica fields a total of 49 athletes, led by star sprinter Usain Bolt. Two African athletics powers, Kenya and Ethiopia, have sent 47 and 46 athletes respectively.

China sends 43 athletes, including its star hurdler Liu Xiang. South Korea, as the host nation, is allowed to enter one athlete in each event and it eventually sends 45 athletes.

Daegu, in southeastern part of the country, previously hosted the 2003 Summer Universiade and three matches of the 2002 FIFA World Cup. It has a total population of 2.5 million.