World champ British hurdler calls Toruń worlds ‘without doubt the best ever,’ posts long review

Donald Brown (right) leads American Damon Blakemore during heats of the M55 hurdles at Toruń. Photo via Facebook

Great Britain’s Donald Brown won the M55 hurdles at Toruń worlds, so he took away some good feelings about the 8th WMA indoor world meet. But he went the extra mile by doing a careful critique off the late-March event.

Don posted initial comments on Facebook (below) and then composed a formal review called The Masters’ Voice. (He also came up with a nifty acronym — masters standing for “Making A Statement That Ensures Residual Success.”)

Unlike 2018 Malaga worlds, where athletes complained about steeple barriers and relay selection, Poland produced little griping (as far as I know.)

In any case, here’s what Don posted April 6:

Dear Masters Athletes and Associate Members of this group,

I would first like to acknowledge everyone who participated and supported the Toruń World Masters Indoor Championships.

To all athletes who attended, whether you medalled or not, the fact that you made it to the champs makes you all champions of our cause to support Masters athletics. To all athletes who were unable to attend, your constant support both on and offline, belief and encouragement further demonstrates your true desire to also champion our cause.

Allow me to address the purpose of this communique. In my humble opinion, this was the best champs I have attended without exception. I not only felt compelled to voice this during the closing ceremony, I feel it is incumbent on us as Masters athletes to hold all future host cities for our indoor and outdoor champs accountable for maintaining standards no less than those we experienced in Toruń. Yes, there is always room for improvement. However, I would like to take the initiative on behalf of you my fellow athletes and all Masters athletes worldwide to ensure that future host cities do not go backwards and fall below The Toruń Standard.

I believe that through strategic, courteous and diplomatic dialogue, we can create a wholesome voice for Masters athletes that not only will be heard but also acted upon. We need to say goodbye to the days when one championship is great followed by one that is pitiful. We need to have the assurance that our relentless training and hard earned finances to fund our costs will not be diminished via the poor hosting of future champs. Toruń has proven repeatedly that true excellence in hosting Championships can be achieved. The better the hosting, the better we perform.

To this end and subject to your collective approval, I would like to prepare an open letter/document. The objective will be to ensure that future hosts for our Championships are made aware that we have a collective voice and we will appreciate them for respecting and honouring Masters athletes by meeting and or surpassing The Toruń Standard.

This is not about me or about British Masters athletes. This is about all Masters athletes from around the world. Our combined collective voice and union of hearts and minds will be one of our many strengths.

Please also note we are not making any demands, complaining or creating any form of controversy. Far from it. This is an acknowledgement and salute of excellence from Masters athletes to further validate the exceptional Toruń Championships, to voice our approval and to ensure The Toruń Standard is met and even surpassed by future host cities. Our suggestions must be exactly that, suggestions and not demands.

In light of that I will begin by setting the tone of the document with 9 points and by formulating the type of language I trust you will embrace and replicate. No matter what shortfalls we may have experienced, let our focus be purely positive. The manner in which this document is prepared will in turn determine the manner it will be received and implemented.

Please note that this is only a draft. I welcome your thoughts and input so I can add them to the proposed document. I may not include all of them but if we can agree on the key ones that would be wonderful.

(Draft Document Start)

On behalf of Masters Athletes in Track and Field, we hereby present our collective voices as one to salute and applaud the great work of the Toruń LOC for hosting an exceptional 2019 World Indoor Masters Championships in the City of Toruń, Poland.

As athletes we appreciate the immense work that goes on behind the scenes and for us not to acknowledge that would be an injustice.

1) Live Streaming
The implementation of the live streaming direct to YouTube was ingenious. The quality was exceptional. Having the option to scroll back within minutes to view performances that enabled athletes and spectators both home and abroad to relive the many amazing performances was brilliant.

To truly create dramatic theatre and further intensify viewing pleasure, positioning a camera level with the finishing line to capture the climax of each race would be the icing on the cake. However, as the camera was positioned about two thirds down the 60m track, viewers were unable to determine the winners and are left with baited breath wondering who won. Viewers also participate vicariously through the eye of the camera and witnessing the crossing of the finishing line brings ultimate excitement, heightened entertainment and magical theatre.

2) Formal Introductions
For so many Masters athletes it is a truly wonderful moment to be formally introduced to the world by name, on camera, via the giant screens and representing their country. It is yet another level of validation for the hard work they have put into their training. Such an acknowledgement is an incredible sign of respect from the organisers and creates a very proud moment for each athlete.

3) Instant Replay & Slow Motion
More fabulous additions included the instant replay, slow motion and the multiple camera angles that captured so many dramatic and breathtaking moments. Simply brilliant.

4) Instant Results
Displaying the results on the giant screens after each race is such great theatre. The anticipation is palpable and the appearance of the results further creates a fantastic atmosphere. In past Championships where this key component was not provided, the flavour, energy and tone of the moment was significantly diminished.

5) Online Results
Other wonderful developments were the options to view the results online along with the lane draws for heats and finals. Again, this further demonstrates the degree of consideration by the organisers for the athletes.

6) Officiating
The level of courtesy and respect from the officials to the athletes, fused with a delicate blend of no nonsense was simply outstanding.

7) Volunteers
The selection of the volunteers was impeccable. They were polite, forever smiling and nothing seemed to be too much of an effort.

? The Medical Team
We cannot say enough about the importance of having the medical team present, ready and available. They were amazing. The fact that one of the medics was on hand to attend to an athlete who suffered a heart attack and potentially saved their life speaks volumes. We cannot thank them enough.

As athletes we do not want to bombard the medics who may have more serious cases to attend to. In light of that we are more than prepared to attend to many of our own injuries. Therefore, having immediate access to a ready supply of ice is essential and key to the healing process. This in turn will enable athletes to manage their own treatment and ensure the medics are available should they be required to assist other athletes.

9) Raising The Bar
The disappointment and frustration of attending well prepared Championships followed by one that was not well organised was obliterated in 2015 and now in 2019 by The Toruń Standard. This shows incredible respect for the athletes and will encourage many who may have considered retiring to continue. Furthermore, The Toruń Standard will no doubt attract new Masters athletes to participate in future Championships.

(Draft Document Paused)

Please feel free to forward your positive observations and suggestions you may have. Please also note the key here is to turn any negatives into positives.

Let us also bear in mind that our suggestions may also incur costs to organisers. I am not privy to any budgets for hosting Championships so please let’s be mindful of this.

I believe collectively we should be able to further applaud and celebrate The Toruń Standard and create an effective voice for Masters athletes that will be readily embraced.

Thank you for your time. I look forward to your positive observations and suggestions.

Another versions was posted — with “appreciations” and “suggestions” — as a PDF, which was introduced thusly on Facebook:

Dear Masters Athletes,

My appreciation to you all for your positive and timely responses to my recent analysis of the Toruń Championships.

As promised, I have prepared an open document of acknowledgement in the hope of ensuring that future Masters T&F Championships meet and or surpass The Toruń Standard.

All that I ask is that if the document meets your approval, circulate it to our fellow Masters Athletes, coaches, clubs, organisers, Executives and supporters etc… worldwide and their Facebook or otherwise online groups.

They key here is to disseminate the information far and wide to consolidate our voice, strengthen our universal platform and further unite Masters Athletes so that we are all singing from the same hymn sheet.

I will do my best to share the document with organisers of future host cities. This in turn will hopefully voice our appreciation and expectations in advance with courtesy and diplomacy.

I thank you all for your support.

I have no doubt Don is expressing a consensus as he sees it, but what do y’all think?

Take a poll and post in comments.

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About the Author

Ken Stone
Ken has followed track as an athlete, writer and webmaster since the late 1960s, and saw most sessions of track and field at the 1984 Los Angeles and 1996 Atlanta Olympics. He also attended the 1988, 1992, 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012 Trials. He worked for 10 newspapers and now reports for Times of San Diego. Write him at or Story tips always welcome!

2 Comments on "World champ British hurdler calls Toruń worlds ‘without doubt the best ever,’ posts long review"

  1. Don also made a great speech expressing the same sentiments during the closing ceremony. Judging from the applause he received, I think his opinions were shared by many of the athletes.

  2. Peter L Taylor | April 14, 2019 at 4:59 pm | Reply

    Congratulations to Donald Brown for not only his performance in the hurdles but also his fine suggestions. I especially like his advocacy of formal introductions, the use of slow motion, and the employment of instant replay. Torun has certainly set a very high bar for Edmonton (April 2021), and it won’t be long before we start talking about that site and its prospects.

    I don’t see Edmonton breaking Poland’s record for attendance, as Europe loves athletics (track and field) and football (soccer) much more than we Americans do. In addition, a quick search gave me populations of 37.1 million for Canada, 327.2 million for the United States, and 741.4 million for Europe. Does anyone want to speculate as to how Edmonton will do in terms of turnout?

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