By Duncan Mackay in Daegu

Barcelona_Olympic_StadiumAugust 21 - London's bid to host the 2017 World Athletics Championships will face strong opposition from Barcelona after the Real Federación Española de Atletismo (RFEA) revealed here today that they were putting forward the host city of the 1992 Olympics and Paralympics as its candidate.

London, whose bid has been dogged since it was launched by doubts about the future of the Olympic Stadium after next year's Games, was already facing stiff opposition from Doha.

It was confirmed during a meeting of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) ruling Council here in South Korea that there will be three cities bidding to host the Championships after the Hungarian capital Budapest officially withdrew its candidature, as had been widely expected.

Barcelona staged one of the most successful Olympics in history at the Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys, where the winners included Britain's Linford Christie in the 100 metres and Sally Gunnell in the 400m hurdles.

Originally built in 1927 for the 1929 International Exposition in the city and Barcelona's bid for the 1936 Olympics, which were awarded to Berlin, it was renovated in 1989 to be the main stadium for the 1992 Games

The venue, which is located in the Anella Olímpica, in Montjuïc, a large hill to the southwest of the city which overlooks the harbour, marked the last appearance by Sebastian Coe in a British vest when the former Olympic double champion won the silver medal in the 1500m at the IAAF World Cup, a race won by Somalia's Abdi Bile.

Coe will be leading London's bid for 2017 as he tries to repeat the successful campaign that saw him bring the Olympics and Paralympics to the capital.

In Barcelona's favour is that the Stadium, which now has a reduced capacity of 56,000, hosted last year's memorable European Championships where the star was France's Christophe Lemaitre (below), who won three gold medals, including completing the 100m and 200m double, on the distnictive blue track.

But counting against Spain is that it has hosted the World Championships already - when Seville staged it in 1997 - while Britain and Doha have not.

A decision on which city should host the event will be made by the IAAF Council at its meeting in Monte Carlo on November 12.

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