Peters adds weight to Palace campaign: Athletics

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The Independent Online
Mary Peters, the British Athletic Federation president, yesterday added her official support to the growing campaign to save Crystal Palace as a venue for the sport.

The BAF support for the "Save Athletics at Crystal Palace" movement comes just a day before the presentation of a 12,000-strong petition to the MPs, Terence Higgins, Kate Hoey and Menzies Campbell, all former international track and field athletes.

The petition, to be presented at the House of Commons at midday today, will express opposition to plans due to be discussed by Bromley Council on Thursday to demolish the stadium's athletics facilities as part of an attempt to save pounds 1m. If the Crystal Palace track were ripped up, London would be left as the only European capital without a major athletics venue.

Peters, the 1972 Olympic Games pentathlete champion, said: "On behalf of the BAF, I would like to support the retention and further development of indoor and outdoor facilities for athletics at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre.

"Continued day-to-day access to these facilities for athletes and coaches in south London and the south-east region is vital to the future well- being of athletics in the south of England. Crystal Palace has been a crucial part of the history and development of the sport in the UK during the last 30 years, and, until such time as a suitable alternative for international matches can be provided in London, Crystal Palace is needed."

Dean Capobianco, the Australian sprinter, was yesterday banned until 2000 after testing positive for the anabolic steroid, stanozolol, at a meeting in the Netherlands last May. The decision was taken by a three- man International Amateur Athletic Federation arbitration panel.

Capobianco, 26, tested positive at a meeting in Hengelo on 27 May last year for stanozolol, the drug used by Ben Johnson when he tested positive after winning 100 metres final at the the 1988 Seoul Olympics.