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From hero to zero - Tower Hamlets Olympic snub

PUBLISHED: 16:14 05 October 2010 | UPDATED: 16:26 05 October 2010

Athletes cast shadows as they compete in the men's marathon during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games

Athletes cast shadows as they compete in the men's marathon during the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games

2008 AFP

THIS week Tower Hamlets not only lost its marathon - it lost the last Olympic sporting event in the borough.

THIS week Tower Hamlets not only lost its marathon - it lost the last Olympic sporting event in the borough.

The decision to re-route the marathon out of east London means Tower Hamlets is now ironically an ‘Olympic host borough’ without a single event to host.

Back in 2005 when Britain jumped for joy after beating Paris to host the 2012 Olympics, Tower Hamlets had been set to hold three major events – the basketball, the walking race and of course the marathon.

But over the last five years the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) has slowly chipped away the borough’s involvement.

The basketball was moved to Newham in 2008 for cost reasons. The walking race, originally in Victoria Park, was moved to The Mall earlier this year. The marathon, which had been due to start on Tower Bridge and finish at the stadium in Stratford, is this week the latest casualty.

Olympic chief Lord Seb Coe said LOCOG had agreed with the leader of the council to develop more sporting opportunities in the borough in the future.

But the council quickly denied this ever took place, saying: “The suggestion of creating other opportunities for participation in Games seems to amount to no more than hosting activities that were previously on offer such as the Olympic torch relay.

“This is not enough for the people of Tower Hamlets. They have been promised the opportunity to get involved with the greatest show on earth and indeed the bid was won on the basis of the dynamism and diversity of the East End.”

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