Exclusive: Coe delighted with West Ham pledge to keep track

Sunday, 15 August 2010
By Duncan Mackay in Singapore
British Sports Internet Writer of the Year

August 15 - Sebastian Coe has publicly backed West Ham United's bid to take over the Olympic Stadium after the 2012 Games in London following their pledge to keep a permanent athletics track.

As insidethegames exclusively revealed last week, the Premier League club have announced that they are prepared to accommodate a track, which was one of the key promises Coe made when he presented London's bid to host the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.

Coe told insidethegames: "I think it's obviously the situation that everybody is looking to and I think it's a sensible acceptance that we were always going to live within the bid commitment."

West Ham had initially been against plans to retain the track but have now included it in their plans presented to the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) and claim that they are fully committed to its inclusion.

But Coe, the chairman of London 2012, who is attending the inaugural Summer Youth Olympic Games, which opened here last night, hailed the takeover of the club by David Sullivan and David Gold as the turning point.

They brought 60 per cent of West Ham from Icelandic company CB Holding in May earlier this year.

Coe said: "In fairness, this is a different West Ham to what it was a few years ago, where, with the best will in the world, it was a fairly transient [administration].

"These are two owners that are committed to the club, committed to the community, that recognise there is a sensible mix here, of serving a community, but also of having a permanent tennant in there, which has got to be a good idea."

It is a victory for Coe, the former double Olympic 1500 metres champion, who has fought passionately to ensure that anyone who took over the Stadium after the Games kept the track. 

Coe, the vice-president of the International Association of Athletics Federations, said: "I'm always going to fight my sport."

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