London Olympic Stadium athletics track completed

Hannah England and London 2012 chairman Seb Coe were among the first athletes to try out the new surface

olympic stadium
Hannah England and Seb Coe go for a jog on the newly-laid track Photo: Locog/Getty Images

olympic stadium

Hannah England was among the first athletes to try out the newly-laid athletics track at the London 2012 Olympic Stadium – joining organising chief Seb Coe for a brisk jog.

England, the silver medallist in the 1500m at the recent World Championship, joined British team-mate, long jumper Chris Tomlinson, and Paralympic champion Dan Greaves at the unveiling on the new synthetic rubber surface.

After recent major events, the 2010 European and 2009 and 2011 World Championships, were held on blue tracks, it’s a return to tradition for London 2012 – with a more familiar terracotta coloured surface.

The same track, designed by Italian company Mondo, has also been laid for an 80m sprint straight under one of the main stands, while a 400m warm-up track, near the stadium, will be laid shortly.

Five world records were broken at the Beijing Olympics – including three by Usain Bolt – and officials are confident more will tumble next summer.

“This marks a huge milestone for the project, as the Olympic Stadium starts to come to life and people get a glimpse of how it will look in less then ten months time when we welcome the world’s athletes to London,” said London 2012 chairman Seb Coe.

“Although there is still a lot of work to do on the stadium, seeing some of our top British athletes on the track with local school children really underlines its potential for 2012 and beyond.”

The completion of the track ties in nicely with a visit from an International Association of Athletic Federation commission, chaired by senior vice president Bob Hersh, who are meeting with members of the London bid team for the 2017 World Athletics Championships.

London faces a rival bid from Doha but members of their team believe the sparkling new Olympic Stadium, which has long been the Achilles heel of their bid due to its uncertain future, could yet be their trump card.

Tottenham Hotspur have yet to give up their threat of a judicial review into the decision to award the stadium to West Ham, who unlike Spurs are committed to maintaining a track at the £480 million venue.

“We have the Olympic Stadium, the passionate fans who will pack each and every session of a World Championships and the commercial track record to deliver a sustainable long term legacy for our sport on a global level,” said UK Athletics chairman Ed Warner.

“We have one clear objective ““ to have one of the world’s greatest sporting events held in one of the world’s greatest cities.”

© Sportsbeat 2011

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