Loughborough students could have the honour of being amongst the first to compete on the London Olympic Stadium Track, as 2012 officials revealed that the BUCS Outdoor Athletics Championships will be used as a test event for the Olympic Games.
The finals of the 2012 BUCS competition will be staged at the Olympic Stadium as a test of the arena’s operating facilities and set-up for the Games themselves.
The decision by BUCS and the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) means that 1200 university competitors nationwide, instead of making their way to the traditional surroundings of the competition’s current venue in Bedford, will travel to London’s East End to compete on the Olympic track.
The news is set to cause a rousing sense of anticipation amongst current Loughborough athletes, who now know that success in next year’s BUCS championships could see them grace the track or field of the 80 000 capacity stadium in Stratford in their event, less than 12 weeks before the opening ceremony and the likes of Usain Bolt in the Olympic Games.
Michael Baker, Loughborough Athletics Club Track and Field Captain, expressed his delight at the news: “The 2012 BUCS Championships being held in the Olympic stadium is probably one of the biggest student sport news stories to come out in the past few years, and to be captaining the side in to the competition will be a huge honour, but above all, hugely exciting, as it will be for all the club members involved.
“As a club of over 300 people, I am sure everyone will be doing all that they can to be a part of the Loughborough Students Athletics team that will compete at the event, in what is sure to be an incredible few days.
“There is a certain pride athletes get when wearing the African Violet vest and competing for the best student athletics club in the country, and I'm sure competing at the event next year in the Olympic Stadium will be even more motivation for those competing for Loughborough to continue the three decades worth of dominance the club has built up.”
The BUCS finals at the stadium will run from 4 May until 7 May, 2012, consisting of 40 test events.
Debbie Jevans, London 2012 Director of Sport, revealed that it was still to be worked out how many spectators will actually be allowed inside the stadium to watch the event.
“It will not be 80 000,” she said, “but it will be a sizeable figure, because we are aware that there is going to be a lot of interest in visiting the new Stadium.”
Paul Bovill, Chairman of the BUCS Athletics group added: “Over half of Team GB in Beijing were university students or graduates, so using the BUCS Championships as the test event makes great sense as well as forming a tangible part of the Olympic legacy for 2012, 2016 and beyond.”