It is time for another major athletics event, this time the IAAF World Championships. We leave the campsite for the station in good time aka ridiculously early. Just at the point where we might have got lost we encounter a games runner clad in fetching pink, which is, for some unknown reason, the colour that has been chosen for the volunteers’ uniform. The hapless chap is now saddled with us he until gets to the stadium; we are working on the assumption that he knows where he is going. I have researched possible trains. In fact I have researched them twice as the results of the first attempt were recorded in a document that got lost in the bowels of the computer, only to be rediscovered after I had redone the list. We are to change trains at Lewisham or Greenwich. Or, as it turns out, not. We change at Woolwich Arsenal and the journey is a good 20 minutes shorter than my itinerary anticipated. Then there were the tickets. Fresh from my recent visit to London and anxious not to look like a yokel, I have instructed my companion in the use of his contactless cards in order to travel round London. I attempt this. It appears not to work. We pay for tickets at the ticket office instead. I then spend the day worrying that it may have worked after all and I will be racking up a massive bill as TFL will think I am permanently lost in the depths of London underground.
I would like to place on record that arriving at the stadium at 7.15am did not make us the first spectators on the premises. There were at least two others. The day officially starts at 10am, we can take our seats at 8.30am, so, no, not early at all. The grounds of the Queen Elizabeth Stadium are looking impressive with the planting that was done for the Olympics now mature.
Not being able to afford premium tickets, we are sat on the far side of the stadium from the home straight but none the less we have a reasonable view and are sat on the end of row 16. This turns out to be a BAD THING. It seems that all of the eighteen people who are sat on our right, between us on the aisle and a wall, have weak bladders, incessant desires for beer and sustenance, or both. We set a record for not having to get up to let someone past. Can we beat five minutes tomorrow? Obviously there are people who might require regular visits to the faciities but surely seeming healthy adults should be able to sit still for three hours and ensure that they equip themselves with necessary refreshments before hand. One guy even apologised for his weak bladder on his second trip past then return with his second pint of beer and a large coffee (both of which were for him), Needless to say, twenty minutes later……… and kebabs at 1045am? Really? In between the incessant getting up and down, we see qualifications for several field events including men’s shot put, women’s triple jump and women’s hammer, in which GB’s Sophie Hitchon qualified in third. On the track was the women’s 100metres, with all three GB girls qualifying, and 400metres and 800metres heats for the men. Sadly Martin Rooney lost out in the 400metres. The first two events of the heptathlon, hurdles and high jump, spread across most of the morning. Katarina Johnson-Thompson under performed in the high jump but Cuba’s Rodriguez got three personal bests and the Olympic champion Thiam also did well.
Much to my companion’s ’delight’ we get to do it all again tomorrow.