Seoul: President Lee Myung-bak has thanked citizens in Daegu for the city`s successful hosting of the World Championships in Athletics, saying the event taught the country that success depends on preparation.
"We were initially concerned that the Daegu Athletics Championships might not draw enough spectators, but it turned out to be a success as we made thorough preparations," Lee told a weekly meeting of senior secretaries, according to presidential spokesman Park Jeong-ha.
"We have to keep this in mind that if we make thorough preparations, we can do it. I am grateful to citizens in Daegu and North Gyeongsang Province."
There had been concerns about staging the championships because of athletics` lack of popularity in South Korea. But the total attendance at the August 27 - September 4 competition surpassed figures from the previous two championships.
According to data from the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the 13th biennial competition attracted 411,111 fans to Daegu Stadium, nearly 91 per cent capacity, through the eve of the event`s closing.
The IAAF noted that Berlin in 2009 sold about 397,000 tickets and Osaka some 254,000 four years ago.
The 13th World Championships in Athletics started inauspiciously with a botched start in the very first event, the women`s marathon on August 27. But it ended Sunday on a spectacular note, as Usain Bolt anchored Jamaica to the world record in the men`s 4x100-meter relay.
Athletes from the host nation didn`t fare so well, unable to win its first-ever world championships medal on home soil.
Bolt fell victim to the "one-and-gone" false start rule, which was introduced last year and was applied at the world championships for the first time in Daegu.
In the past, the field was permitted one false start and the second runner to jump the gun was disqualified, regardless of who had the first false start.
But the IAAF insisted all week it wasn`t ready to change the rule, which was endorsed in a 97-55 vote, just because some high-profile athletes were disqualified.
Oscar Pistorius, the first amputee to compete at an able-bodied world championships, also attracted attention. He reached the semifinals of the 400 meters and helped South Africa set a national record in the 4x400-meter relay.
By last night, Bolt`s false start had become a distant memory as he won the 200 meters on Saturday in 19.40 seconds, the fourth-fastest time in history, and then completed the deuce with the record-breaking relay win. And it was a fitting ending that captured the essence of athletics: fast, powerful and awe-inspiring.