Osaka ticket giveaway

OSAKA, Japan, Aug 23 AFP - Organisers of the World Athletics Championships are banking on early dramatic competition to draw crowds with ticket sales painfully slow for the event starting Saturday.
The Osaka organising committee has offered 50,000 free tickets to children to help fill the 50,000-seat Nagai Stadium during the nine-day championships with advance sales reported to be just 46 per cent as of Monday.
I am not worried at all,'' Yohei Kono, the head of the committee, told a news conference today. I believe that some events with great news value will take place early in the championships to give us a big boost.’’
IAAF secretary general Pierre Weiss said on Monday that 70 per cent of advance tickets for the coming weekend had been sold but the ratio was only 10 per cent for days next week.
Kono, the speaker of the lower house of parliament, said a considerable amount'' of tickets had been sold for the first third of the championships but the sales for the second third had been a little dissatisfactory.’’
He recalled that advance ticket sales were also slow when Tokyo hosted the 1991 world championships.
But a Japanese woman won a silver medal on the opening day and brilliant performances of superstars inspired many people to watch it on the spot,'' he said. IAAF president Lamine Diack, who has tried to involve youth more in athletics, endorsed the plan to mobilise children to the championships free of charge. They’ll pay for future tickets,’’ said Diack, who added that the 2003 Paris championships was also helped by involving young people.