London

London 2012: Lord Coe says Olympic marathon 'is fixed'

Runners pass Buckingham Palace
Image caption Lord Coe said he would not be changing his mind about the marathon ending on The Mall in 2012

The Olympic marathon will conclude in central London and will not be moved to the East End despite protests, London 2012 chairman Lord Coe has said.

The finishing line has been switched from the Olympic Stadium in Stratford to The Mall for "operational reasons" such as security and traffic flow.

Tower Hamlets Council said it would take legal action as it felt the race should be showcasing east London.

But Lord Coe said the plans were final and "I will not be changing my mind".

The 26-mile race was originally due to pass through much of Tower Hamlets and the East End.

In September it was decided it would now be staged mostly in central London, passing landmarks including Buckingham Palace, St Paul's Cathedral and the Houses of Parliament.

Earlier this month a London 2012 spokesman said although the decision had been "very tough", it was "comprehensive, fair and legal".

Olympic 'wrap'

The council said it wanted to seek a judicial review to overturn the changes and its position had not changed in light of Lord Coe's remarks.

The Labour MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, Rushanara Ali, claimed it was because organisers were "ashamed" of the East End, something which London 2012 denied.

The mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman, said they had acted unlawfully and had ignored the "spirit" of the Olympic bid, which intended to show the best of the East End.

Meanwhile Lord Coe said a number of potential sponsors had come forward since it was revealed that a distinctive 20m (67ft) fabric curtain planned for the Olympic Stadium could be scrapped to save money.

The £7m "wrap" was abandoned by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, although it promised the idea might be revived if a sponsor could be found.

Lord Coe said people should "watch this space" for further news.

Inspectors from the International Olympic Committee have now completed their three-day tour of London's Olympic sites.

Organisers have also said "testing events" will be held in the run-up to the Games, where sports will be staged to try out each Olympic location.

London 2012 has promised every athlete competing in the Games will be able to buy up to two tickets per event, so families and friends can cheer them on.

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