Glasgow 2014: Hampden athletics track unveiled

The new athletics track at Hampden. Picture: Martyn McLaughlin
The new athletics track at Hampden. Picture: Martyn McLaughlin
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GLASGOW’S new world-class athletics arena has been unveiled today, marking the end of Hampden Park’s transformation for the Commonwealth Games.

View a Vine video from The Scotsman’s Martyn McLaughlin of Eilish McColgan and Mount Florida Primary School pupils christening the track >>>

The Commonwealth Games centrepiece will host some of the competition’s most exciting moments, with over a thousand athletes due to compete for medals during the 48 events.

Scotland’s national stadium has undergone months of construction and revamping in order to prepare it for next month’s Games.

Among the redevelopments made to the arena was a revolutionary technique to raise the surface by nearly two metres, ensuring it meets the width and length requirements for an IAAF-approved Athletics track.

The completed construction works, which saw around eight rows of seats moved to accommodate the wider field of play, revealed for the first time how close the crowds will be to the action.

Olympic Steeplechaser and Team Scotland athlete Eilish McColgan said: “There’s less than 50 days to go until Glasgow 2014 and standing here in Hampden definitely makes it seem real.

“The transformation is amazing and I think the reaction of a lot of the athletes will simply be ‘wow’.

“My mum has told me all about the unbelievable atmosphere and overwhelming support of the crowd when she competed and won gold in front of a home crowd at the 1986 Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh and I know that’s a standout memory of all her races throughout the years.

“I’m just so excited at the prospect of competing in a home Games and she’s told me the support I’ll have from the Scottish crown as a Scottish athlete will be on another level.”

Glasgow 2014 chief executive David Grevemberg called the transformation an ‘achievement of which Glasgow and Scotland can be justifiably proud’, adding: “This is a world-first solution in a great venue, creating an excellent sporting field of play and we can’t wait for the elite athletes of the Commonwealth to come and experience the thrill of competing here.

“The completion of Hampden marks a very special moment in our journey to the starting line of what will be the biggest and best sporting festival Scotland has ever hosted.

“More than a thousand athletes from around the Commonwealth will compete here. We’ll have 50 different medal ceremonies. And we’ll bring the curtain down on Glasgow 2014 in Hampden too, as we hand over to the Gold Coast, host city of the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Michael Cavanagh, Chairman of Commonwealth Games Scotland, added: “It is hugely exciting to see the spectacular change of Scotland’s National Stadium complete in such good time for the Games.

“Hampden, with its bold, innovative transformation to an Athletics venue is truly amazing and I know all our track and field athletes will be thrilled to step out into this magnificent Athletics arena filled with home support.”

Cabinet Secretary for Commonwealth Games and Sport, Shona Robison said: “This new athletics track is truly fantastic and another excellent example of how ready we are for these Games.”