The IAAF World Indoor Championships in Istanbul which will take place from 9 to 11 March 2012 are on course to become the biggest gathering in terms of participating national IAAF Member Federations in the history of these championships, exceeding the previous record set four years ago in Valencia.
With 172 IAAF National Member Federations having entered athletes to compete at the Atakov Arena next week, Istanbul 2012 should surpass Valencia 2008 where 147 countries, also a participating record at the time, contested the event.
A total of 1,299 athletes and officials are also expected to attend what will be the IAAF's most important event of the 2012 World Athletics Series. 349 male athletes, 334 female athletes and 616 officials have indeed been entered following the 27 February deadline for Final Entries.
On the individual front, Ethiopia's Meseret Defar will be chasing her fifth consecutive Indoor gold medal at 3000m while a recent World Indoor record has also reinforced Yelena Isinbayeva's chances of winning her fourth World Indoor title following her setback two years ago in Doha.
The World Indoor Championships, which were first contested under the guise of the World Indoor Games in Paris in 1985 when 69 nations took part, attracted 142 nations for their last edition in Doha 2010.
photos Janos Schmidt