Tuesday, September 28, 2010

London 2012 Olympics: Lord Coe says MP's claim about marathon route is 'ludicrous'

via telegraph.co.uk

Rushanara Ali, the MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, has reacted with fury to Games organisers' plans to move the end of the marathon from the Olympic Stadium in Stratford to the Mall in central London.

Ali, who met London 2012 chairman Coe on Tuesday at the Labour Party conference in Manchester, said the change meant that organisers were "embarrassed and ashamed to showcase the area and its people to the world".

Coe said the main part of the Olympics would be in the east of London. "This is not a beauty contest and it would be ludicrous to suggest that we are ashamed of the East End.
"We wouldn't have created an Olympic Games that in large part is delivered in the East End with all the legacies if that were the case."

Ali had said that moving the marathon would be a "huge blow" to East End boroughs.
She said: "If LOCOG goes ahead with this proposal, the message they send to the world is 'while we are happy to use the vibrancy, dynamism and diversity of the east end of London to win the Olympics bid, we're embarrassed and ashamed to showcase the area and its people to the world'."
There have been suggestions that the new route limiting the marathon to central London would be to make the most of the city's landmarks, be more accessible for spectators and provide a better backdrop for broadcasters but Coe insists that is not the case.

"This is a purely operational issue," he added. "It's about the staging across 16 days of effectively 52 individual world championships and trying to create the matrix that allows you to have a marathon at the same time as other events without cutting across the ability of the competitors and spectators to get there."