Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 20th 2015 Contents A52
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Saturday, June 20, 2015
A Sunday, August 17, 2014 file photo showing Britain's Mo Farah as he celebrates winning the gold medal in
the men's 5,000m final during the European Athletics Championships in Zurich, Switzerland. AP PHOTO
BAKU, Azerbaijan---The chief organ-
iser of the inaugural European Games
said yersterday he is "incredibly sat-
isfied" with the spectator turnout,
despite the large number of empty
seats at some events.
Many sessions have taken place with
banks of empty seats, even at sold-out
"I do recognise that this is incredibly
frustrating for people who want to buy
tickets but when they look at the tel-
evision they can see some empty seats,"
said Simon Clegg, the chief operating
officer for the games.
However, Clegg said organisers can
do little about it.
"We cannot sell more tickets than
are available at the venue," he said. "A
number of people are not staying for
the whole duration of the match and
there are no facilities that are in place
to ensure those tickets can be re-used
once those people have left."
Clegg has previously said there are
"issues" with sponsors not using the
tickets allocated to them.
Clegg also warned there would be
large numbers of empty seats at Baku s
showpiece 68,000-capacity Olympic
Stadium for the athletics competitions
Sunday and Monday.
"We are not expecting that facility
to be full," he said.
Few top-level athletes are taking part
in European Games track and field
events because the competition doubles
as the fourth tier of the European team
championship. That means that major
European nations such as Britain,
France and Russia are not competing
while the host team of Azerbaijan faces
off against lesser opposition such as
Austria, Israel and Luxembourg.
Overall, however, organisers were
happy with the turnout as the European
Games reach the halfway stage.
"We had over 30,000 spectators at
all of the venues yesterday, with an
average attendance rate of 74 percent,
so I have to say that I am incredibly
satisfied with the level of attendance
of the games at all of the venues," he
LONDON---Angered by "rumors and
speculation" swirling around him, two-
time Olympic champion Mo Farah said
yesterday that he has never taken per-
formance-enhancing drugs and
described his two missed tests as "sim-
The British distance runner missed
the tests in 2010 and 2011 in the buildup
to the 2012 London Olympics, where
he won gold medals in the 5,000 and
10,000 metres. The missed tests were
disclosed for the first time this week by
the Daily Mail newspaper.
The report came at a time when
Farah s coach, Alberto Salazar, is under
scrutiny amid doping allegations.
Farah, who has not been accused of
wrongdoing himself, issued a strong-
ly-worded statement on Facebook to
insist he is clean.
"I have never taken performance
enhancing drugs in my life and I never
will," Farah said. "Over the course of
my career I have taken hundreds of
drugs tests and every single one has
"I ve fully explained the only two tests
in my career that I have ever missed,
which the authorities understood, and
there was never any suggestion that
these were anything more than simple
Farah said it has been "extremely
painful" to have his integrity questioned,
particularly because his wife is five
"The last two weeks have been the
toughest of my life---with rumors and
speculation about me that are completely
false---and the impact this has had on
my family and friends has left me angry,
frustrated and upset," Farah said.
In a story by American investigative
journalism group ProPublica and British
broadcaster the BBC, published earlier
this month, Salazar was accused of using
doping practices at the Nike Oregon
The governing body of British athletics
responded to the allegations against
Salazar by announcing that Farah s med-
ical data would be analysed.
LONDON---The cost of London s
Olympic Stadium will have soared to
more than $1.1 billion after it is trans-
formed to enable Premier League club
West Ham to play there.
When the 2012 Games were awarded
in 2005, London said the main stadium
would cost £250 million (then US$440
million) but costs soon rose to £429
It was built with the intention of
being downsized from 80,000 to
25,000 seats after the Olympics with-
out being able to accommodate
After recognising that a soccer club
was necessary to ensure the stadium
was regularly used, London s Olympic
legacy body gave West Ham a 99-year
lease and agreed to fund most of the
Officials revealed Friday the cost of
transforming it into a 56,000-seat soc-
cer stadium, with track and field facil-
ities, had risen to £272 million (US$432
That takes the overall stadium bill
to £701 million (US$1.11 billion), with
West Ham contributing £15 million
Cost of London's Olympic
Stadium soars over $1.1 billion
Farah says he never doped;
missed tests were 'mistakes'
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