By Duncan Mackay

Londo_2017_bid_logoSeptember 6 - London today launched its website and unveiled its logo and slogan for its bid for the 2017 World Athletics Championships with backing from Dai Greene, Britain's newly crowned world 400 metres hurdles champion.

Under the slogan "Ready to break records", London is hoping that the unprecedented demand for tickets to watch athletics at next year's Olympics will demonstrate to the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) that a Championships in the capital would be the best attended in the history of the event, which was first held in Helsink in 1983.

"There is a real desire in the UK to host the IAAF World Athletics Championships," said Ed Warner, the chairman of UK Athletics. 

"2017 would deliver a true Olympic legacy and with almost two million fans signing up for London 2012 athletics tickets there is a huge appetite for our sport in the capital.

"Today's confirmation means we can now put months of planning into action.

"Our aim is to present a compelling bid to the IAAF in November."

The bid will be led by Sebastian Coe, the chairman of London 2012 and vice-president of the IAAF. 

"We know we have a country and a city full of passionate athletics fans," he said.

"I can't think of a more fitting tribute to celebrate the fifth birthday of the Olympic Stadium in London in 2017 than by having thousands of these fans gather once again and cheer the world's greatest sports stars.

"Bringing the World Championships to London would grow the sport commercially; increase the fan base and continue to drive the inspirational power of sport, particularly athletics, to young people in our own country and around the world."

The bid is still overshadowed by the uncertainty over the future of the Olympic Stadium caused by the judicial review granted to Tottentham Hotspur and Leyton Orient, who are disputing the decision to award it to West Ham United after London 2012.

But key politicians, including Sport and Olympics Minister Hugh Robertson and London Mayor Boris Johnson, have pledged their backing to the bid.

"The British public has a passion for athletics and bringing the World Championships to our country would build on the enthusiasm for the sport generated by London 2012," said Robertson.

"The bid has the full backing of the British Government and I look forward to working with UK Athletics and the Mayor of London to demonstrate to the IAAF why these Championships should come to London for the first time."

This will be London's fourth bid in less than 15 years to hold the World Championships.

The previous bids have all ended in embarrassing failures due to the lack of a suitable facility to host the event, including in 2005 when London were awarded the event only to have to hand back after then Prime Minister Tony Blair failed to keep his promise to build a stadium at Picketts Lock and the Government tried to move it to Sheffield, which the IAAF angrily rejected.

But enthusiasm to stage the Championships seems to be higher than ever.

"This gives us the perfect opportunity to build on the momentum of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and would be a real boost in cementing a lasting sporting legacy for London well into the future," said Johnson.

"I'm confident we will put together an incredibly strong bid which will show off not just the huge enthusiasm Londoners have for athletics, but also the world-class package the capital can offer in hosting these exciting and inspiring sports."

London's only opponents are Doha, who launched their marketing campaign yesterday.

But Greene is in no doubt which city the world's top athletes would prefer to compete in.

"There is so much interest in athletics in the UK, two million people went for Olympic tickets and I know other athletes would enjoy coming to London to compete," he said.

"It would be superb from my point of view...I'd love to compete at the Olympic Stadium in 2017."

His view was supported by Dwight Phillips, the American who won his fourth world long jump title in Daegu last week and the 2004 Olympic champion.

"The people in Britain know so much about our sport and they really support it," he said.

"I might not be a competitor in 2017, but I'd want to come to London and be a spectator."

The IAAF is due to choose the host city at a meeting of its ruling Council in Monte Carlo on November 11.

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