Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Coe:You Could Be in the Running for These Great Games

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Coe:You Could Be in the Running for These Great Games

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Douglas Newcastle United Editor mark.douglas@ncjmedia.co.uk

THE mastermind behind London's successful Olympics, Lord Sebastien Coe, believes Newcastle and the North East can stage a successful Commonwealth Games - if the city decides to bid for the event.

Glasgow's success in hosting the Games has prompted a fresh bout of talk from influential figures that Newcastle might consider a future bid for the multi-sports event, which drew hundreds of thousands of people to the Scottish city over 10 days last month.

In an exclusive interview, Lord Coe has supported any potential bid from the city and its neighbours, arguing that the region has the desire and the wherewithal to become a credible candidate.

Lord Coe will be in the North East next month to act as the official starter for the Great North Run, which will achieve a momentous milestone with its millionth finisher this year.

The half marathon has beaten the likes of New York and London to become the first organised mass participation run to achieve that - and stands as proof that the city is a capable and competent host.

And Lord Coe - who won and then oversaw the glittering success of London 2012 - believes that could potentially be translated into a bid for the Commonwealth Games. He would be a heavyweight ally.

"Absolutely it can. It is not unthinkable for Newcastle to be serious contenders to host the Commonwealth Games," he said.

"Primarily the organisers of the Commonwealth Games want cities that understand the importance of sport and to make a success of it they need people that absolutely want to support and be part of the event.

"You can imagine the interest you would have from the people of the North East in being volunteers for an event like that.

"There also needs to be a political consensus on it. You would need bipartisan support for something like that but you could never accuse Newcastle and the North East of not investing in sport or believing in the potential of sport to make a difference to a city.

"The people of the North East have consistently illustrated that.

"I wouldn't want people to run away with the idea that creating something as substantial as the Commonwealth Games is an easy initiative. …

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