Program of Continental Cup Ambassadors / Captains in Ostrava is busy. After yesterday's welcome, where Nezha Bidouane was missing, the whole quartet met at the exhibition that runs at Nová Karolina shopping centre until Sunday. In addition to autographing, pre-competition taunting has already started star captains, although non-competing, will play an active role in the competition and will be betting “jokers” on strong events of their team.
Ambassador of Africa Nezha Bidouane did not catch an airplane from Prague yesterday, but this afternoon was at the "IAAF Heritage exhibition” site, open since June at the Nová Karolina shopping mall in the city centre. After the briefing, which was also attended by IAAF president Sebastian Coe and Czech Federation and LOC chairman Libor Varhaník, guests had a chance for stellar athletes’ to signatures, whether on ready-made cards or for T-shirts from the “Ostrava supports continents” project.
Libor Varhaník mentioned in his speech that the last tickets on Saturday (Sunday was sold out earlier) were left – shortly after four o'clock, exactly nine. "I look forward to enjoying this athletic festival," Varhaník said. Sebastian Coe pointed out in the presence of a full ambassador team: "It is important that stars of the past spend time on events such as the IAAF Continental Cup and inspire the young. Thank you," Coe said. "I think most of my team was born after I jumped the world record in 1991," said Team Americas’ Captain Mike Powell, in this regard.
All the speakers then supported the concept of special rules for this competition. "It is good that some changes are being tried, and the IAAF Continental Cup is an ideal opportunity for it," Nezha Bidouane said. "Sure, we have a ‘classic’ as the Olympics, and I know not all may like the changes, but we have to try at least," said Colin Jackson, who will lead the "home" team of Europe.
With the action itself approaching, questions were also raised about on which events jokers will be bet by captains. It is just this mentioned possibility how they may influence result of the team - if captain succeeds in betting on victory of their team in the picked event, point score will double (16 instead of 8 points). Of course, they were encouraged by the moderator, if they believe their specialization.
"Wait a moment, that's a secret," Asia-Oceania leader Jana Pittman said with a smile, also double world champion on 400m hurdles. "But if I know anything, Samba will win," she added confidently to the currently second fastest man in her event. Record holder at ‘short’ hurdles Jackson believes his men at 110, Bidouane the female part of the African team, and Powell thinks that America's team has no weaknesses.
After the signing, fingerprints and signatures of the remaining two ambassadors - Nezha Bidouane and Colin Jackson - were added to the wall next to the entrance, while Pittman and Powell visited the exhibition in June.