Coe rules out any U-turn on London marathon route

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The Independent Online

There will be no U-turn on the controversial changes to the route of the London 2012 marathon, Lord Coe insisted yesterday. The London 2012 chairman said he had made the call to switch the marathon finish from the Olympic Stadium in London's East End to the Mall in central London "for operational reasons" including security, clashes with other events, and traffic congestion.

Approval had been received from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Athletics Federation some time ago. Lord Coe said: "They have been signed off and I will not be changing my mind. I made the judgement on very good operational reasons that the reputational damage to this city, to the Olympic movement, to the sport of track and field, to the people of London, for the next 50 years if we get this wrong, was not worth the risk."

Lord Coe was speaking as inspectors from the IOC heaped praise on London 2012's preparations for the Games at the end of a three-day visit. However, Tower Hamlets council are seeking a judicial review of the decision to change the route.

With more than 75 percent of building work on the £9.3bn Olympic project complete, the inspectors said they were very happy with the progress. Next year will see the start of test events of venues, facilities and services. Denis Oswald, chairman of the IOC's co-ordination commission, said: "We continue to have an excellent relationship... We are convinced that this will continue to lead to a successful Games in 2012."