Warner wants more championships in London but Coe won't rule out Africa
By Florence Lloyd-Hughes at the IAAF Congress in London
London wants to host more major athletics championships and the Commonwealth Games in the future, according to Ed Warner, chairman of UK Athletics.
Speaking at a press conference ahead of the start of the 2017 IAAF World Championships, which get under way at the London Stadium today, Warner said that the body would seek to bring more events to the former Olympic Stadium as part of its 50-year lease deal.
Warner said: “Would London want to use this stadium to host major championships of all sorts? Absolutely. Would we like to see European Championships in the stadium? Absolutely. Do we want to see Commonwealth Games hosted in London? Yes.
“Are there other major athletics events to bring to the stadium? Yes, because let’s remember there’s a 50-year lease that UK Athletics has on this stadium and we want to use that.”
Last month, the venue played host to the World Para Athletics Championships, marking the first time that the two athletics events would be hosted in the same venue in the same year.
Warner had already expressed his desire to return those championships back to London in two years’ time and he reiterated yesterday that “British Athletics and the British Paralympic Association would love to bring them back.”
However, Warner acknowledged that it might be a while before the IAAF World Championships return to the city as athletics’ international governing body has a “global” vision for its flagship event.
He explained: “Would London ever want to host these [IAAF World Championships] again? I bet it would, but I should think the IAAF has other plans because these are global championships and they need to be rotated around the world.”
Doha in Qatar, and Eugene, USA are the hosts of the next two editions of the IAAF World Championships in 2019 and 2021, respectively.
When pressed on the possibility of Africa ever hosting the World Championships, Sebastian Coe, president of the IAAF, said that the continent was an “important destination” for athletics.
Coe admitted that he had “started conversations” with the Confederation of African Athletics about taking more championships to the region.
Last month, Nairobi in Kenya hosted the IAAF World Under-18 Championships and Coe hopes that more events will be staged across the continent after more than 160,000 spectators attended the last three sessions of the junior competition.
He said: “It is an important destination and I hope we find a way of doing that. South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya and Morocco all have high potential.”
• The IAAF Congress yesterday voted down a proposal to reintroduce age limits for senior IAAF officials after a lengthy debate at London’s ExCel Centre. Several delegates described age limit restrictions as “discriminatory” and the motion eventually failed to receive the two-thirds ‘special’ majority required.