Athletics Junkie 2.0

Since I live in a country ignorant of athletics, televised competitions are a rarity. Before Eurosport Asia started airing the Diamond League events and the European Team Championships, Star Sports/ESPN offered the occasional track & field event (such as the 2010 World Indoor Championships). Don’t even get me started about local and regional meets. Local broadcasters don’t even bother to show athletics events (Southeast Asian Games, Asian Games) featuring Filipino athletes. If I’m not mistaken, the coverage of the 2002 Busan Asian Games was the most comprehensive.

The advent of Youtube and Twitter has done wonders for this athletics fanatic. Nowadays, I can watch clips of the most obscure European races, thanks to the kind souls who find the time to upload. The micro-blogging site, Twitter, has given new dimension to how fans and athletes interact with each other. Those in the immediate vicinity provide a constant stream of updates, whilst the athletes themselves post their thoughts freely online. In a sense, this heightens the sporting experience, despite being oceans away from the scene of competition.

Hence, I was particularly pleased when my suprisingly fast broadband connection (we subscribe to the cheapest package. I used to be able to download stuff at 40 KB/s. Now it has ballooned to 90 KB/s!) became sufficient to stream the ongoing World Championships in Daegu. I spent the past two days glued to my computer watching the live feed from South Korea.

My humble, no-frills set-up!

While watching the events unfold, I make it a point to read various tweets from relevant tweeps. The dedicated sports websites (Athletics Weekly) and the journalists (Joe Battaglia and Tom Fordyce) provide the most concise tweets. Certain elite athletes, both active (Kelly Sotherton, David Oliver and Felix Sanchez) and retired (Ato Boldon and Kriss Akabusi), offer unique and oft-poignant perspectives. The viewing experience can be likened to watching a sports event in an (online) sports bar. These, in conjunction with live updates from the IAAF detailing each and every discipline, provide an informative set-up. Surely, this beats reading news articles and watching Youtube clips!

Nothing can ever compare to being in the actual venue, but this combination offers this Filipino track fanatic the next best alternative.

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