HELSINKI, May 24- Finland is mounting a massive security operation for the 2005 world athletics championships to be held in Helsinki August 6-14, organisers said on Tuesday.
While no concrete threats have been issued, considerable measures are being planned to protect the 3,000 athletes, 4,000 media representatives, 15,000 spectators and 1,500 international figures expected in the Finnish capital, the head of the organising committee, Antti Pihlakoski, told AFP.
The safest place in Finland in August 2005 will be the Olympic stadium and the village,'' he said. Police, border guards, customs officials, the secret service and Europol will all be called in for the event, but the number of officials and the budget earmarked for security have not been disclosed. The precautions are being taken even though Finnish and international security services have seen no sign of terrorist interest for this event,’’ Pihlakoski said.
The only real threat for now is the possibility of a repeat of a stunt pulled by an Irishman at the 2004 Athens Olympics, when he jumped on to the track and blocked the way of Brazilian marathon runner Vanderlei Cordeiro de Lima.
The athlete had a 30-second lead at the time of the incident, but finished in third place as a result.
``If somebody has an irresistable urge to throw themselves on to the track, unfortunately they can do that,’’ competition director Pekka Paakkanen told the Finnish media recently.
Footnote to item Header: “Safe As Milk” is title of one of Captain Beefheart’s early LPs, taken from the notion that mother’s milk is safe for you, even though tests found that some women - who had somehow been contaminated by radiation - expressed milk containing the toxic Strontium 90. I realise nobody asked, but thought I would explain the esoteric header. :o