All the fans of top international athletic sports are aware that following the IAAF World Championships 2019 in Doha, the World Athletics Federation has been renamed. Here is the background. The somewhat cumbersome “International Association of Athletics Federations” – IAAF for short – has become the more memorable World Athletics, with a new association logo. By making this change, the highly renowned world athletics association wants to “reach more young people and make athletics more appealing,” says World Athletics President Sebastian Coe, explaining the decision.
We, as a manufacturer of synthetic tracks from the very beginning, are also closely associated with the world athletics association: 25 per cent of all the IAAF or, as they are now known, World Athletics certified sports facilities come from the Sport Group Holding, which also includes the tartan track manufacturers Polytan, APT and AstroTurf.
In total, the Sport Group Holding has installed World Athletics-certified synthetic surfaces on over 280 sports facilities worldwide, including five present or former IAAF Diamond League venues, which since 2020 has been renamed the Wanda Diamond League.
Polytan synthetic sports surfaces can be found in the following Diamond League athletics stadiums: Qatar SC stadium in Doha; in Sweden in Stockholm’s olympic stadium; in the Bislett stadium in Oslo, Norway; in the Moulay Abdallah stadium in Morocco; and in the Gateshead Stadium near Newcastle, Great Britain.
The umbrella organisation for all national athletic sports federations was founded back in 1912 in Stockholm, Sweden, as the International Amateur Athletics Federation, or the IAAF for short. In 2001, the word “amateur” was dropped from the name because the IAAF Athletics has since established itself as a major player in professional sport on the world stage. Until it was renamed World Athletics in 2019, the official name of the International Athletics Federation was the International Association of Athletics Federations.
World Athletics is responsible for organising international athletics competitions like the Diamond League and the IAAF World Championships. The umbrella organisation also administers the list of official world records and standardises the methods for measuring records. In this role, the International Association of Athletics Federations ensures the quality of the athletics venues by requiring them to be certified by an official body in order to hold official competitions.
The World Federation of Athletics differentiates between two categories: the World Athletics Class 1 Certificate and the World Athletics Class 2 Certificate. The first is required for stadiums hosting the IAAF World Championships or Olympic Games. For Wanda Diamond League meetings, continental, national or regional competitions Class 2 is sufficient.
And there is testing: For the Class 1 certificate, an accredited testing laboratory carries out on-site tests to determine whether the athletics facility has the required functional capabilities and whether all markings, dimensions and distances comply with World Athletics guidelines. The tartan tracks that are installed must have obtained a “World Athletics Product Approval” in advance.
For Class 2 certification, there is no need for the tartan surface to be quality-checked on site, as after installation only the correct dimensions of the system are checked. The synthetic surface quality is guaranteed by the “World Athletics Product Approval”, and is not checked again after installation.
Sport Group Holding has successfully installed synthetic surfaces with IAAF certification at over 280 sports facilities to date. In 2019, 28 per cent of all Diamond League meetings took place on a Polytan running track, including the fastest 100-metre race of the year. Christian Coleman from the USA took just 9.85 seconds on the IAAF certified track in Oslo. In the 2019 Diamond League year, an extra 15 national records and 11 world best times were set on our World Athletics certified high-speed synthetic sports surfaces.