July 2, 2008 / 12:25 AM / 11 years ago

U.S. keen to host world cross country championships

Jennifer Barringer (C) leaps over the water just behind Anna Willard (L) on her way to winning her semifinal heat in the women's 3000 meter steeplechase at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in Eugene, Oregon June 30, 2008. REUTERS/Mike Blake

EUGENE, Oregon (Reuters) - The United States wants to bid for the 2010 or 2011 world cross country championships in a move to increase American interest in athletics, the president of USA Track and Field (USATF) said on Tuesday.

New York, Washington, Chicago and San Diego are among cities to express interest in the event, USATF president Bill Roe told a news conference on a non-competition day at the U.S. Olympic trials.

“My goal before the end of the year when my term as president expires is to place a world cross country championship (in the United States),” Roe said.

IAAF president Lamine Diack, who visited the first half of the trials, has even higher goals.

“He wants us to host an event....on the track & field side,” Roe said.

The U.S. has not staged a major International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) event since the 1992 world cross country championships in Boston.

Los Angeles was awarded the 2006 World Cup of Athletics but withdrew when organizers could not guarantee taxes would not have to be paid on prize money. Athens eventually hosted the meeting.

Roe said Diack wanted the U.S. to host a world indoor or outdoor athletics championships before he retired as IAAF president in 2011.

But the United States does not have a large enough facility for the outdoor event, with the world cross country championships or world youth or junior championships more realistic targets.

Editing by Ed Osmond

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