London 2017 bid is 'in good shape'

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The Independent Online

London's bid for the 2017 world athletics championships is in good shape with financial guarantees in place and the 2012 Olympic stadium retaining its track, the IAAF's Sergei Bubka said yesterday.

London's past failures, including an aborted bid for the 2015 championships, could not be compared to the current effort, added the International Association of Athletics Federations senior vice-president.

"Their bid is good news," said the Ukrainian, who has been a strong supporter for the track to remain after the 2012 Games under a new tenant. "They are serious this time. The Olympic Stadium is there, I am happy that the track will stay after the Games and it is a great opportunity for them," the former Olympic pole vault champion and world record holder added.

"Obviously there will be an assessment of the bid and their proposal. But for me it was important to hear from the London mayor [Boris Johnson] of the financial guarantees. He said everything is done," said Bubka during a visit to London where he met sports officials and the mayor.

Germany's Berlin, Hungarian capital Budapest and a yet to be decided city in Spain have joined London and Qatar in expressing interest for the 2017 championships. The IAAF will announce the list of official candidates on 1 September. The hosts will be selected by the IAAF Council at its November meeting in Monaco.

"It was different in November," Bubka said of London's withdrawal from the 2015 race late last year.

The 2015 bid was ditched after it emerged the Olympic Park Legacy Company, responsible for finding an anchor tenant for the stadium after the Olympics, could find itself open to a legal challenge over its bidding process.

London was also awarded the world athletics championships in 2005 but did not stage the event after the government abandoned plans to build a new stadium and the IAAF reopened the bidding.

"This time they have the financial guarantees," said Bubka. "This is an opportunity for Britain and a great legacy after the Games."