UK Athletics back Hammers' bid
Published 11/10/2010 | 13:12
West Ham's bid to take over the London Olympic stadium after the 2012 Games has received a major boost in the form of formal support by UK Athletics.
The Hammers, who have made a joint bid with Newham council, have committed to ensuring there is an athletics track as well as a football stadium.
UK Athletics chairman Ed Warner said: "What has impressed me so much about the joint bid from West Ham and Newham is their clear commitment to the spirit of the Olympic legacy and not just athletics at the elite end, but with the retention of the community track, our future champions and club runners too."
He added: "It was clear from the start that only a partnership approach would bring to life the vision Seb Coe had when he committed to an athletics legacy in 2005 and we believe the collaboration of West Ham, Newham and UKA gives the strongest opportunity for a vibrant sporting legacy that will go well beyond 2012."
West Ham have also made clear their support for hosting the 2015 world athletics championships at the stadium - London is bidding against Beijing for the event.
Warner added: "The team at West Ham have also been keen to support our bid to host the World Athletics Championships in 2015 at the stadium, fully understanding that a significant international event will play a major part in realising their ambition of a British sporting hub."
It is a big blow to the rival bid from Tottenham/AEG bid who had indicated a running track was not part of their future plans.
Last week, AEG president Tim Leiweke said it would not make economic sense to keep the stadium geared up for athletics because of a small number of major events that could be staged at the venue.
West Ham vice-chairman Karren Brady said: "This is fantastic news. We believe ours is the only bid that can deliver London's legacy commitment to the International Olympic Committee. UKA's endorsement is a powerful and highly-valued testament of that.
"Our plan is not just to have a new stadium for West Ham but a real sporting centre for London and the rest of the country. We want to create a home of sport, featuring two of the greatest sports, football and athletics, side by side where they can grow and flourish together."