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No Olympic stadium warm-up event for GB athletes

View inside Olympic Stadium
The interior of the Olympic Stadium is currently being fitted out

Britain's elite track and field athletes will not have the chance to compete at the Olympic Stadium ahead of the 2012 Games.

The first test event inside the stadium will be the 2012 British Universities championships from 4-7 May.

It will be followed by the London Disability Grand Prix on 8 May, which will feature Paralympic athletes.

Although UK Athletics were keen to hold the 2012 Olympic trials there, logistical issues have stopped them.

"We're pushing them as hard as we can but there are logistical constraints," UKA chairman Ed Warner told BBC Sport ahead of the official announcement.

"It's not our stadium, it's Locog's stadium, and they're trying to piece together a jigsaw which includes a whole lot of pieces.

"Clearly, we always hold our trials as close to a major championships as we can and they need to prepare an opening ceremony - which I'm sure, with Danny Boyle's [film director who is overseeing the opening ceremony] help, is going to be pretty lavish and will require quite a bit of preparation.

"We may not be able to get the trials in there but we've got to be sure we get our athletes comfortable with the feel of that track under their feet.

Joice Maduaka
'It would have been perfect' - GB sprinter Maduaka

"The most important thing for us is home advantage. We will do all we can to ensure they're comfortable with that stadium - they understand where the call room is, understand the distances from A to B, they've been on the warm-up track, they know what it's going to be like in the cauldron of competition in August 2012."

Phillips Idowu, Britain's world and European triple jump champion, told BBC Sport earlier: "It would be good for a lot of the athletes to get in there, try out the runways and track, and get that Olympic feel.

"But for me? I don't want to go in the stadium until I need to go in and compete at the Olympics.

"If there's a meet there I'll do it but if not, it doesn't make a difference to me. I'll go in and do a job."

British 110m hurdler Andy Turner added: "I don't really want to go in there until I really have to. As it's in London, you're going to feel very at home anyway.

"I'd like to walk on a track where I've never been, out of my comfort zone. I want to just experience it on the day. I want it to be fresh when I go out there rather than having seen it before."

But sprinter Joice Maduaka argued that holding the British trials at the stadium "would have been perfect".

She said: "As an athlete you can't concern yourself with things like that, we can't influence the decisions.

If it's too familiar a stadium it takes a little bit away from it being the Olympic Games

Steve Cram

"But it's a shame, it would have been perfect obviously to give us a chance on that track - but the decision has been made."

BBC experts Colin Jackson and Steve Cram believe athletes are unlikely to miss out if the British trials are not held at the stadium.

"I think it's a wise decision. They can iron out any issues and make sure when the real event happens they can deliver it well," said Jackson, who competed in four Olympic Games, winning 110m hurdles silver at the Seoul Games in 1988.

"It's the magic of the Olympic games - you want to go there really fresh and get that atmosphere for the first time when you have to deliver that performance."

Cram, a 1500m silver medallist at Los Angeles 1984 and a veteran of three Olympic Games, said: "All you're really doing [at a test event] is showing the stadium can get spectators in, it's not really about the athletics.

"When you go to the Olympic Games, if it's too familiar a stadium it takes a little bit away from it being the Olympic Games.

"I'm sure the British athletes will have the chance to familiarise themselves with the Olympic stadium - you don't have to have run in it, though."

see also
London 2012 test events unveiled
24 Feb 11 |  London 2012
2012 Olympics schedule revealed
15 Feb 11 |  London 2012
Athletics chief delighted by decision
11 Feb 11 |  London 2012
West Ham win bid for Olympic Stadium
11 Feb 11 |  London 2012
Athletics on the BBC
21 Apr 11 |  Athletics

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