President Wirz: ‘2017 World Championships have to be in London’
European Athletics President Hansjörg Wirz has pledged his full support for London’s bid to host the 2017 IAAF World Championships in Athletics.
“I am convinced that we have to be in London in 2017 and I am 100 percent behind UK Athletics’ efforts to bring the World Championships back to Europe,” said President Wirz on the sidelines of the annual European Athletics Convention in Arona, Spain, on Thursday.
“Europe is the centre of the athletics world and our athletes and fans deserve the stage London will provide.
“Having supported the efforts of the authorities in London to retain the track in the Olympic stadium, the IAAF must now follow through by awarding the event to justify the investment and secure the legacy of the London Games.”
London is in a two-horse race with Doha, Qatar, for the right to host the 2017 World Championships, which will follow the Daegu 2011, Moscow 2013 and Beijing 2015 events. A decision on the hosts will be made at the IAAF Council meeting in November.
“We must avoid a situation where the World Championships is held outside of Europe three times in four editions,” added Wirz.
LOCOG Chairman Sebastian Coe, who is also a vice-president of the IAAF, and UK Athletics are co-leading the bid.
“There is no other city in the world more suited to host the 2017 IAAF World Championships than London. It has everything that the governing body of the sport can ask for: a passionate fanbase, a rich tradition in athletics, organisational experience and a great venue,” said President Wirz.
UKA Chairman Ed Warner, also attending the European Athletics Convention, welcomed the words of support from the European Athletics President.
“I’m delighted that President Wirz and his colleagues at European Athletics are putting their full weight and support behind London 2017,” said Warner.
“Everyone in the European family in athletics recognises the significance of the sport’s global showpiece event returning to our continent at regular intervals. Not only is this conducive to excellent performances from the world’s top athletes, but it also has positive ramifications for broadcast audiences and commercial income into the sport.”
London 2017 has attracted support from across the world as a number of stalwarts of the sport past and present have thrown their weight behind the bid. Ethiopian distance running legend Haile Gebrselassie is the latest to join as an ambassador and a member of the Athlete Commission for London’s bid.
The bid is also supported by British legends such as Jonathan Edwards, triple jump world record holder, Sally Gunnell, the 1992 Olympic Games 400m hurdles champion, Steve Cram, the 1983 World Championships 1500m winner and former world mile record holder, and Roger Black, the 1986 and 1990 European Athletics Championships 400m gold medallist.
Mo Farah, 2011 European Athlete of the Year, recently joined 400m hurdles world champion David Greene, 2010 European Athletics Championships triple jump champion Phillips Idowu, and Hannah England, who won the silver medal in the 1500m at the World Championships, as an official ambassador.
The official London 2017 website is at www.london2017athletics.com.
photo Getty Images
photo Getty Images