10 August 2009
Article by Ed Warner as seen in Athletics Weekly Magazine
By the time you read this, the Aviva Great Britain & NI team for the World Championships in Berlin will already be training at our holding camp in Portugal. Injuries notwithstanding we’ve still an exciting team for what will be a vital event for our sport as we all seek to build on the excitement generated by the Beijing Olympics.
Much has been made of the objective of British athlete success in London 2012, but each major championships en route to our home Games is an important opportunity in its own right. You can be sure that the GB team for Berlin is selected with immediate success in mind. That said, it is good to see a number of young athletes making their way into the senior ranks to gain valuable experience for championships and Olympics to come.
I’ll be arriving in Berlin with Lynn Davies and David Littlewood a few days before the Championships to attend the 47th IAAF Congress. This is not a Congress at which elections are held for all the key IAAF posts – that next takes place in 2011 – but instead will consider a string of proposed constitutional and technical rule changes.
Two of the more interesting and possibly contentious proposals are to change the false start rule to become instant disqualification, as in the recent European Team Championships, and to change the Masters’ age threshold from 35 to 40 for non-stadia events.
On the subject of London 2012, the question of the legacy use of the Olympic Stadium has resurfaced, just when we thought that the plan to scale down the stadium after the Games had effectively been endorsed by all the major interested parties.
I’m pleased that although there is renewed debate about the relative merits of an 80,000 and a 28,000 seat stadium, there appears to be uniform commitment to athletics being at the heart of the plans for legacy use. Clearly we are concerned to ensure that if the decision is eventually taken to leave the stadium at an 80,000 capacity that this is not to the detriment of athletics’ use of it.
While it would be great to have a definitive conclusion to this debate, it may well be that it runs on all the way through to the Games and possibly beyond. In the meantime, we are looking at which major championships we could bid to host in the years after 2012 in both a full size and a scaled down stadium.