Lord Coe defends East End marathon snub

The London 2012 chief dismisses criticism of plan to finish Olympic marathon in The Mall

LORD Coe has hit back at criticism of a plan to re-route the London 2012 marathon away from the East End.

The 2012 Games chief’s comments followed an outcry about the move in which one MP accused the Olympic organisers of being ashamed of the East End.

Lord Coe, chair of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG), said: “It would be ludicrous to suggest that we are ashamed of the East End.

“We wouldn’t have created an Olympics Games that in large part is delivered in the East End with all the legacies if that were the case.”

Games organisers have announced plans to finish the 2012 marathon at The Mall in central London instead of the Olympic Stadium in Stratford.

Rushanara Ali, Labour MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, said that the move meant that the organisers were “embarrassed and ashamed to showcase the area and its people”.

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Newham Council’s Paul Brickell, executive member for Olympics and Public Affairs, said: “LOCOG’s ticketing policy means many East Londoners will be unable to go to events inside the Olympic Park itself.

“This is a golden opportunity for those residents to be part of the greatest show on earth for free, on their doorsteps.

“If these plans go ahead there will be a lot of disappointed residents in East London.”

Mr Brickell said that the council would be asking the Olympic organisers to honour their original commitment to finish the marathon in the Olympic Stadium.