Olympics Marathon row set to go to High Court

THE new mayor of Tower Hamlets may soon take legal action against the might of the Olympics authority to get the 2012 Marathon route returned to East London.

Lutfur Rahman is stepping in this week to back an East London Advertiser campaign after London Mayor Boris Johnson refused to get involved.

The High Court move is the latest development after the paper urged the public last month to join its campaign following Lord Coe’s Olympics Committee snub in switching the prestigious marathon event to The Mall instead.

The decision was unlawful, Tower Hamlets council insisted this week. So the authority sought advice of Queen’s Counsel and has now sent a ‘pre-action’ letter to Lord Coe’s committee before its application for Judicial Review to quash the new route.

“We believe the committee has acted unlawfully in re-routing the marathon,” said Mayor Rahman.

“It failed to adhere to the spirit of the original bid in 2005 which sought to ‘showcase’ East London.

“We have not taken the decision lightly to seek a Judicial Review and feel there’s no option.”

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His move follows Boris Johnson coming under fire at the London Assembly last month for backing Lord Coe’s decision and telling the Assembly we could “like it or lump it”!

But Cllr Rahman, who was running for Tower Hamlets mayor when the row broke, declared at the time: “The decision to dump the East End from the marathon route is completely indefensible. I fully support the Advertiser’s campaign to revert it.”

The East End was set to host the walking race through Victoria Park and the basketball event, as well as the marathon, after London scooped Paris in the bids to host the 2012 Games.

Mayor Rahman said in a statement on Monday: “We have asked the Olympics committee to do the right thing and bring the marathon back to East London—but they have steadfastly refused to change their position.”

The Olympics committee has chipped away at the East End’s involvement “bit by bit,” the Town Hall points out, with basketball moved out for “cost reasons” in 2007 and then the walking race being switched.