June 19 2013 Latest news:
John Hyde, Chief Reporter
Thursday, March 31, 2011
SIX months it was described as a betrayal of the East End, but today the Olympic Marathon row was forgotten over a curry.
Last autumn, Tower Hamlets Council led a vociferous protest at 2012 organisers’ decision to re-route the Marathon away from the East End.
Hundreds of signatures were collected, prominent athletics and business figures were quoted and the council even wrote to LOCOG promising that “until the decision is reconsidered our campaign will continue”.
But there was little sign of any animosity today as council leader Lutfur Rahman welcomed LOCOG chairman Seb Coe to Tower Hamlets for a poppadom or two.
And the Olympic borough’s reward for dropping its anger? Being named as the Curry Capital 2012 and local residents being given ‘priority access’ to 1,000 jobs.
Mayor Rahman, said: “Like all of Tower Hamlets, Brick Lane is such a vibrant area and in many ways its history embodies the Olympic spirit; triumphing over adversity, welcoming new cultures and providing first class entertainment.”
For those with long memories, this came as a marked change from the leader’s outlook last November, when he vowed to press on with legal action to get the Olympic Marathon route back.
Indeed, he was quoted on the council website saying: “We are the only one of the five host boroughs that will not hold an Olympic event.
“We’re concerned that Tower Hamlets will be little more than a glorified thoroughfare between the City of London and the Olympic Park.”
Olympics chiefs promise Brick Lane and Banglatown will be promoted as a cultural and entertainment hub for visitors in the build-up to the Games.