London has officially been awarded host city by the IAAF for the 2017 IAAF World Athletics Championships after triumphing against a rival bid from Doha in Qatar. The British bid, headed by Lord Sebastian Coe, won the right to stage the championships following a vote of the IAAF council in Monaco last week. Former heptathlon gold medalist Denise Lewis and Bristish sprinter Jodie Williams joined Lord Coe to represent the bid. Contributions were also provided by Sports and Olympic minister Hugh Robertson and Mayor of London Boris Johnson.
Building an Olympic legacy for the capital, London 2017 will see one of the world's greatest sporting events held in one of the world's greatest cities five years on from London 2012. The news comes as a major relief to UK Athletics officials after previous bids to stage the championships ended in failure.
A bid for the 2001 World Championships had to be abandoned after initial plans for an athletics track to be included in the redevelopment of Wembley Stadium were scrapped.
London was then awarded the 2005 Championships on the basis that a new stadium was to be built in north London. Hopes were dashed after the Government went back on its promise and the Championships were given to Helsinki instead, while the 2011 bid was withdrawn due to uncertainty surrounding the future of the Olympic Stadium.
Speaking from Monaco, The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: "Despite an excellent challenge from Doha, the London team put together a cracking bid which has paid off with this fantastic news today. With the 2017 championships now in the diary next summer’s London Games is just the start of a long and active life for our magnificent stadium."
He added: “In addition to athletics it will host a variety of sports competitions including football as well as a range of other events from major concerts to community activities. I am absolutely thrilled for London."
Over the last decade, London has transformed itself, becoming recognised globally as a leading city for major sporting events, having already won the bid to host high profile sporting fixtures post-2012 including the 2013 UEFA Champions League Final, the 2013 ITU World Championship Series Triathlon Grand Final and the 2015 Canoe Slalom World Championships.
Based on the success of London 2012’s International Inspiration Project, London 2017 has revealed the international legacy programme that will be launched now that the city has won its bid to host the 2017 World Athletics Championships. LEAP 2017 has been designed to engage two million children in athletics across 17 developing countries over four years.
Iain Edmondson, Head of Major Events at London and Partners said; "Since the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games bid was announced six years ago, we’ve been working hard to ensure that all the enhancements to our city leading up to the Games continue to be of benefit to both the international community and Londoners alike long after 2012."
"Winning the right to host the World Athletics Championships in 2017 in addition to London 2012 reinforces London’s position as a global leader for major sporting events and is testament to the investment we are demonstrating for the future of the capital and the lasting legacy of the Olympic Games."