Sebastian Coe believes yesterday’s decision to award the 2017 World Championships to London means all of the city’s Olympic legacy commitments have been met.
London beat the Qatar capital of Doha by a margin of 16-10 following a vote of the 26-strong council of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) in Monaco yesterday afternoon.
Doha vowed to host a World Championships “like never before” thanks to a budget of almost £125m for a solar-powered, temperature-controlled stadium, while also pledging a new sponsor to bankroll various IAAF events to the tune of just over £18m and offering to pay the event’s £5m prize fund.
However, London’s bid team also pledged to pay the prize fund in a planned “late reveal” and stressed they could offer a full stadium and were the preferred choice of athletes due to the city’s climate and hosting the championships in the traditional window of late July and early August, rather than September as proposed by Doha.
IAAF vice-president and London 2012 chairman Coe led London’s final presentation and the victory fulfils his 2005 promise that the Olympic Stadium would have an enduring athletics legacy.
“We have the Olympic Games in 2012, the World Championships in 2017 and we have world championships at virtually every level in every sport over the next decade,” said Coe, who grew up in Sheffield, attending the city’s Tapton and Abbeydale Grange schools, and is a former Hallamshire Harriers runner.
“It’s an extraordinary clean sweep for British sport.
“These are always complicated days because I wear two hats – one as a bidder and one as a representative of the sport globally. Mercifully both hats have pointed today to London.
“We need to globalise our sport and yes, that sometimes means taking it to challenging environments and I am sure we will be looking to broaden the sport in all sorts of territories.
“But London was the right bid at the right time and it meets all our domestic legacy commitments.
“I put forward a vision that was an important one. I fought very hard, along with the sports minister (Hugh Robertson) and the Mayor (of London, Boris Johnson), for the maintenance of a track and field facility and it was really important that we got across the line today.
“No country in the world has made the kind of infrastructure investment in track and field in the last 10 years and this was our opportunity to build off the back of 2012.”
Coe, whose hopes of succeeding Lamine Diack as the next president of the IAAF will be boosted by the result, revealed that Prime Minister David Cameron had written to each member of the IAAF Council yesterday.
“This is great news both for London and the whole country,” the Prime Minister said.
“There is no better way to follow the Olympics, and to build on its legacy, than by welcoming the world’s greatest athletes back to London for the 2017 World Championships.
“We are determined to make 2017 the most successful World Athletics Championships there has ever been and we look forward to welcoming athletes and fans from the world over to our vibrant, multicultural, sports-mad capital.”
London mayor Boris Johnson added: “It’s fantastic news for London.
“London is a city of sports fans and a city sports fans love.
“It does cement in everyone’s minds that it’s not going to just be a stadium where there is football or pop music, but it’s going to be a fantastic venue for athletics for 99 years.”
Baroness Ford, chair of the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) and also part of London’s bid, added: “I am delighted that London has won.
“This bid process has given us a chance to showcase London and show people the fantastic legacy that will result from the London 2012 Games.”
The news comes as a major relief to UK Athletics officials after three previous bids to stage the championships ended in failure.