• Athletics

Too close to call in race for 2017 - Coe

ESPN staff
November 10, 2011
Seb Coe says the 2017 World Athletics Championships are central to the London 2012 legacy © Getty Images

Lord Sebastian Coe admits London's chances of being awarded the 2017 World Athletics Championships remains in the balance.

London and Doha are in a straight shootout for the right to host the event, with the result set to be announced on Friday. The possibility of both cities emerging victorious, with the International Association of Athletics Federations awarding the 2019 championships as well as the 2017 edition has been mooted.

Coe was chairman of the London bid that was awarded the London 2012 Olympics, and he knows that the bidding process to go down to the wire.

"There is still all to play for. I'm not confident and I'm not pessimistic," Coe said "I'm long enough in the tooth to know campaigns run right to the wire. You take absolutely nothing for granted and you treat everyone, whether you think they are warm or not, in exactly the same way."

Coe, who is in Monaco for Friday's vote, insists he is still on good terms with fellow IAAF vice-president Dahlan Jumaan Al Hamad of Qatar.

"This is an unusual one as well for me in that they are my colleagues and it's the first one I have had the chance to vote in," Coe said. "The colleague I sit next to in meetings is Dahlan Al-Hamad of Qatar and we get on famously well. It's my sport and it's what shaped me. It's my passion."

The London 2012 bid's success hinged on the premise of the Olympic Stadium retaining the athletics track, and Coe believes hosting the 2017 World Championships would be a major boost for the Olympic legacy.

"We fought long and hard to keep the Olympic legacy alive in that stadium and that legacy is athletics. I would not be doing this for any other sport," he said.

"We have a great challenge to get young people into sport and athletics and I believe London has everything in place, including a national athletics stadium, to prosper that vision. In addition, there is no plan B for selling tickets because we know we can fill the stadium."

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