In all probability, two athletics events (and a Paralympics) will take place at the Olympic Stadium before West Ham get their grubby mitts on it (the IAAF don’t like the UK, so we’re unlikely to beat Doha and their World Cup winning millions to the 2017 World Championships). One will feature global superstars, world record holders, the fastest, the highest, the strongest, the works. The other? It could feature you.
To give a bit of background, a big shiny Olympics means a load of big shiny new venues for the 29 events that comprise the Games of the XXX Olympiad, and each of these requires a test event to ensure that everything will run smoothly when the real thing arrives. Some of these have happened already – you may remember the Beach Volleyball on Horse Guards Parade in August providing a welcome distraction from most of the rest of the city being set on fire. Others will occur throughout the next year, mostly in the form of high-powered events like the Cycling and Diving World Cups next February.
However, rather than stage the UK Championships or a Diamond League event in Stratford, the London Games Organising Committee have, for reasons unknown, decided to give the honour to the BUCS (British Universities) Championships at the beginning of May.This is fantastic news. Normally quite a low-key (though hotly contested) event, it should be transformed by the allure of a big stadium appearance. And the best bit is, every university is guaranteed two places per event, giving the opportunity to compete to a shedload of Dark Blues. That said, inter-squad competition is sure to be fierce, especially for the marquee events and relays (where Oxford have a real chance, comprising three of the four finalists last year). And if you’re an athletic type then there’s no reason to not give it a go, even if the last race you ran involved an egg and a spoon, as you may well surprise yourself.
In essence this is a plug, and yes, the author does hope to spend a few days in May struggling round one lap of the track in Stratford, maybe even jumping over some silly obstacles someone’s put in the way. But it’s a plug with a pretty good incentive behind it, surely the equivalent in prestige to getting an OURFC run-out at Twickenham (even if the crowd may be a little smaller). And just think, if you’re in the first heat of your event, and you win, you’ll have the stadium record. If that’s not something to work for, I don’t know what is.
To find out more, come and see OUAC at the Freshers Fair.