A rendering of Budapest's National Athletics Centre (© Axiom Visual)
Major athletics events are one of the most powerful tools in delivering World Athletics’ Sustainability Strategy.
The strategy, published earlier this month, addresses global issues that pose a threat to the quality of our lives, using the power of sport and athletics to create a better world for communities.
While sporting events are short-term and finite, they present a springboard to drive awareness and inspire behavioural change. Event attendees, local communities and the event supply chain can be inspired and educated during an event to create a lasting legacy, leaving a positive impact long after the event has finished.
To mark Earth Day, we take a closer look at the efforts that future World Athletics Series host Budapest is making to put sustainability at the heart of its preparations for the 2023 World Championships.
Hungary – and Budapest especially – is a constantly growing supporter of sustainable events and renewable energy. It will be no different in 2023, the year in which the Hungarian capital hosts the World Athletics Championships.
The event does not require any permanent construction as all facilities have been planned and approved independent of the bid. There will be temporary seating in the stadium, giving it a capacity of 40,000 during the World Championships and 15,000 after. Once the temporary upper tier is removed, the stadium would be left with a circular plateau, which can be filled with publicly available leisure areas.
The site of the stadium, on the river bank on the southern border of Budapest, is currently a disused waste ground, but the whole area will be regenerated and will become a public park with 15 acres of green spaces, open to everyone.
The construction of the stadium and regeneration of the area was approved by the Hungarian government independent of Budapest’s 2023 World Championships bid, but it will be completed in time for the global event, meaning everyone attending the championships – and, indeed, all visitors to the city thereafter – can enjoy the area.
“This area, the South-Pest Sports and Leisure Park, will not only be used by elite athletes, it will be used by families, schools, employees of the area and a lot of Budapest,” says Marton Gyulai, CEO of the Budapest 2023 Bid.
“For months, we have been working with architects to develop the idea of having as many multifunctional and event spaces in the stadium as possible, which can be utilised in a variety of ways after the event.
“At the same time, the stadium and park would be not only an event venue but also a community space. The area, both inside and outside the stadium, will be used by locals who want to run in the good air, jog or just walk on the banks of the Danube.”
The stadium will also be directly accessible by public transport including trams, buses, local railway and boats on the river Danube. The VIP transportation, meanwhile, will make use of electric cars, but all will be encouraged to consider walking to the stadium on the beautiful river bank without any transportation required.
Budapest, like all host cities of future World Athletics Series events, will also join World Athletics’ Air Quality project.
“It’s important – for us and for World Athletics – that the World Athletics Championships Budapest 2023 is not just a competition,” says Gyulai. “Residents of Budapest will feel the tangible legacy of the event.”