Budapest National Athletics Center 2023 World Athletics Championships
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National Athletics Center: a new stadium for the 2023 World Athletics Championships

On the banks of the Danube River in Budapest, the facility will host the sporting event scheduled for August 19–27

NAPUR Architect

Budapest National Athletics Center 2023 World Athletics Championships
By Eugenio Petrillo -

The most important athletics meeting this year, the World Athletics Championships attracts global attention as one of those events that people wait all year for. With Budapest and its National Athletics Center all set to host the 19th edition of the event between August 19 and 27, the Hungarian capital is about to become the epicenter of track and field as it welcomes the very best athletes from around the world.

It was only July last year when the championships took place at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. The timing of the two events is therefore quite close, but the World Athletics – formerly known as the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) – saw it as a necessary measure to get the ball rolling again after the pandemic. So, athletics is very much back on the calendar, with this August the busiest yet for major sporting events. And the centerpiece is the nine intense, exciting days when the world’s best athletes will compete in the World Athletics Championships.


National Athletics Center: a brand new stadium on the Danubeù

National Athletics Center in Budapest - NAPUR Architect © WCH Budapest 23, courtesy World Athletics

Purpose-built for this year’s World Athletics Championship, the National Athletics Center stands on the eastern bank of the Danube, south of central Budapest. The facility, designed by NAPUR Architect, will seat up to 36,000 people for the championships, but the capacity will be reduced to 14,000 for future events. When the temporary upper tiers are removed, the stadium will retain its ring design but will include recreation areas open to the public.

The construction of the Nemzeti Atlétikai Központ, as the stadium is called in Hungarian, was allocated a budget of 530 million euros. Besides the stadium itself, this figure included outdoor sports fields, a club house, and other athletics facilities. A park with a pedestrian and cycle bridge was also built adjoining the stadium. The structure was completed in June 2023 and was inaugurated last July for the Hungarian athletics championships.

National Athletics Center in Budapest - NAPUR Architect © László Zsigmond, courtesy World Athletics

Italy also had a hand in constructing the arena, with the roof built in the Veneto region. A tensile structure with a PTFE fiberglass membrane, it’s designed to protect spectators from the extremes of both summer and winter.

The new National Athletics Center will make this event, which combines sports, entertainment, and architecture, extremely user-friendly. As will its location, which will encourage spectators to make the trip to the venue using eco-sustainable means of transport, with ample parking for electric cars as well as pleasant foot and cycle paths that take in the beautiful views along the blue river.


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Italy at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest

National Athletics Center in Budapest - NAPUR Architect © László Zsigmond, courtesy World Athletics

Italy will be competing in Hungary with a team of 78 athletes, including 43 men and 35 women. All eyes will be on Marcell Jacobs, who, after his forfeit in July 2022, is ready to prove his right to the 100 meters Olympic gold he won in Tokyo. But it won’t be easy. He’ll have to be at his very best to beat Americans Trayvon Bromell, Marvin Bracy, and, in particular, world gold medal holder Fred Kerley. Jacobs will also compete in the 4x100 meters relay with Filippo Tortu, Eseosa Desalu, and Lorenzo Patta.

Italy team captain Gianmarco Tamberi occupies the same position as Marcell but in the high jump. He finished fourth in Eugene but the competition was particularly fierce, including Qatari glider Mutaz Essa Barshim, the Korean Sanghyeok Woo, and the Ukrainian Andriy Protsenko. Unfortunately, Italian women’s high jumper Elena Vallortigara, who won bronze in Eugene, will miss Budapest with physical problems.

Italy has many athletes capable of doing well, including European 10,000 meter European gold medalist Yeman Crippa, and 20 kilometer walk Olympic gold medalists Massimo Stano and Antonella Palmisano.

Some of Italy’s most formidable opponents include Swedish pole vaulter Armand Duplantis, Norwegian 400 meter hurdles specialist Karsten Warholm, and elite Venezuelan triple jumper Yulimar Rojas.


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Location: Budabest, Hungary
Completion: 2023
Size: 118.000 m2
Architect: NAPUR Architect
Structures: Buro Happold, EXON 2000
Main Contractor: ZÁÉV Építőipari, Magyar Építő

Please refer to the individual images in the gallery to look through the photo credits

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