Berlin’s 73rd Internationales Stadionfest is set to go. This coming Sunday, 31st August 2014, the gates of Berlin’s Olympic stadium will swing open at 12 noon, heralding performances by 164 top-notch athletes covering 16 disciplines in the main programme starting at 3pm. In a new development the programme’s timetabling will be tighter and the new “ISTAF 3.0” format will deliver a new style of presentation for the sportsmen and women. Among the innovations are better acoustics, more music and a raft of features to add to the overall show.
Of the 164 athletes converging on Berlin from 40 nations, 39 hail from Germany – 16 women and 23 men. Shot putter Tom Walsh from New Zealand has the longest journey. This year’s most successful ISTAF athlete is Lithuanian discus thrower Virgilijus Alekna, proud holder of two Olympic wins, two world-championship titles and one European title. At 42, he is also the oldest competitor and will be retiring on Sunday. Diane Cummins, a contender in the 800 metres, is only two years younger. The youngest female participant, at 17, is Tigist Getnet from Ethiopia, running in the 3,000m steeplechase.