IAAF to push broadcast boundaries for Doha 2019

The IAAF Productions division of the International Association of Athletics Federations has detailed what it claims will be ground-breaking technology in place for the broadcast of the forthcoming World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar.

Doha 2019 takes place from September 27 to October 6. The IAAF, with its technology partners and suppliers, has made a concerted push to revolutionise broadcast coverage of athletics at its flagship competition, by introducing an array of new cameras that will aim to provide innovative angles on the competition and behind-the-scenes pictures that have never been shown to the audience before.

In collaboration with the IAAF’s long-standing timing partner Seiko, IAAF Productions will launch the world-first technology of Block Cam at Khalifa International Stadium. Two miniature cameras have been installed in each starting block which will provide a new dimension to the coverage of the 100m and sprint hurdles, broadcasting the first pictures of athletes’ faces in the moment before they hear the starting pistol.

IAAF director of broadcast James Lord said: “Traditional camera positions only showed the top or side of their heads as they took their marks. The new cameras within the blocks will capture that intense moment just before a race.”

Seiko will also introduce an improved Start Video System, video distance measurement for shot put and new LED sand pit event boards which will deliver more information to spectators.

Chairman and group chief executive of Seiko Holdings Corporation, Shinji Hattori, said: “Our main responsibility is to deliver accurate, reliable and fast timing and measurement data and we remain 100 per cent focused on this, as our enhanced Start information System for sprints demonstrates.

“However, for Doha, we have also invested in new technologies that bring the sport closer to the fans like the ‘Block Cam’ system, and a new information board for the long and triple jumps. We hope that all of this helps bring new excitement and new fans to the great sport of athletics.”

The suite of new cameras being used by IAAF Productions will also include body cameras placed on officials, in the call room and officiating on the race walks course, drones, rail and wire cameras on the back straight, a rail camera in the tunnel between the warm-up track and stadium, a super slo-mo remote camera in the discus cage, and hand-held cameras for athletes to take on victory laps.

The 2019 World Championships will also see a major leap forward in graphic production and analysis, through work conducted by Seiko, Hawkeye, Angular Velocity and Deltatre.

This will display the maximum speed reached by sprinters during a race, and their finishing speed, the speed of take off in long jump, triple jump and pole vault, the distance achieved in each of the three phases of the triple jump, and the speed and angle of release of the long throws.

IAAF Productions is a joint venture between the IAAF and ITN Productions formed in 2017.