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USA Track & Field indoor championships coming to Albuquerque

Some of the best athletes in the world will compete in Albuquerque this spring as the USA Track & Field indoor championships return to the Convention Center.

Mayor Richard Berry announced Tuesday that the nationally televised event is coming back to the city in March, after two years elsewhere. They were also held in Albuquerque from 2010-14.

The city is also in talks aimed at keeping the event in Albuquerque the following year.

Tania Armenta of Visit Albuquerque — the group that works under a city contract to bring meetings and tourists to Albuquerque — said the indoor championships are expected to result in $400,000 in direct spending on hotels, restaurants and other goods and services.

The event is also a great way to showcase Albuquerque on a national stage and inspire younger athletes, Berry said.

“When these athletes come in here and get to see our city,” he said, “they talk about us when they leave.”

The USA Track & Field masters indoor championships are also scheduled for Albuquerque next year, in February.

The indoor championships announced Tuesday are scheduled for March 3-5. Next year’s events will mean 10 USA Track & Field championships have been held in Albuquerque since 2010.

Attracting sports tourism has been a priority at City Hall.

“We have one of the best indoor tracks in the world,” Berry said.

The city is also the site of the 2019 National Senior Games, and there are plans to build a baseball and softball complex on the West Side to attract out-of-state tournaments.

About 350 to 400 athletes are expected to compete in the indoor championships in March. The event will be shown on NBC Sports Network.

The city also said it made numerous improvements to the state-of-the-art portable indoor track, including a full resurfacing of the Mondo oval last year.

Track and field competitions are among the highest-rated during the summer Olympics. The indoor championships feature pole vaulting, long jump, shot put and races, among other events.

“We’re bringing the world’s greatest athletes to Albuquerque,” said Adam Schmenk of USA Track & Field.