World athletics championships - Feeling on top of the worlds

The World Athletics Championships, which comes to London in August, is among the biggest sporting events on the planet. Over the course of 35 years, stamps and postmarks from host cities have built into a great collectable


Retro postcard from the inaugural World Athletics Championships in Helsinki in 1983, with Finland’s 1.30m commemorative stamp and pictorial postmark


My job, as a newspaper journalist, and my favourite sport, running, combined to take me to the World Athletics Championships for the first time in 1987. Once I was there, the event unwittingly sucked in my principal hobby, philately!

I was not working on the sports desk at the time, but among the British team competing in Rome was a high-profile local athlete, Liz McColgan, so I secured press accreditation for the event from the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

It was the start of a career-spanning, globe-trotting journey which has taken me to various World Championships (and also to the Olympic Games and Commonwealth Games), watching the best of track-and-field competition and filing copy for newspapers while gathering commemorative stamps, postcards and postmarks in my spare time.

It has been a privilege for me not only to be present at many of the great championships, but also to come home with wonderful philatelic souvenirs for my ever-growing collection.

Report by Norman Watson

Read the full article in Stamp Magazine August 2017

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