Sebastian Coe was a visitor to Scotland House in New Delhi on Tuesday, urging Team Scotland’s medallists “to encourage thousands of kids to take up sport,” and telling athletes from the Achieve 2014 initiative that their experience in Delhi can act “as a stepping stone to a medal in Glasgow 2014.”
Lord Coe, chair of the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG), also highlighted the close links between Glasgow 2014 and London 2012, which he joked would be “a test event for 2014.”
And the double Olympic gold medallist reminded all those involved in Glasgow 2014 that, following Thursday’s closing ceremony, “you’re the next taxi off the rank” – an experience with which he is familiar, with London having taken over as next Olympic host city after Beijing in 2008.
“With the handing over of the flag,” Lord Coe told the Glasgow 2014 organisers, “you’ll notice that your preparations, your pace, and the scrutiny and interest around the [Commonwealth] Games, will quicken.
“I’m delighted that our organisations work as closely as they do,” he continued, “and we’ve done so from the very beginning. I remember standing in our own headquarters in Canary Wharf on the day [Glasgow] won the right to stage the Games. I remember all our teams standing twenty-deep around televisions, and there was genuine excitement.
“It’s really important that these organisations work together. We have a complementary interest here, and that is legacy. It’s really important to go on driving young people into sport. Every medal is and should be used to drive thousands more kids into sport.”
Addressing Team Scotland’s medallists, including swimming gold medallist Hannah Miley, Lord Coe added: “It’s not just about being here with a medal; there’s now some responsibility to get back into your communities and inspire people. It’s a virtuous circle.”
In addition to the medallists, young athletes from the Achieve 2014 programme were in attendance. Thirty athletes, in three groups, have travelled to Delhi to experience the athletes’ village and venues, to give them a taste of a multi-sports games.
“I’m delighted you’ve got the Achieve 2014 programme up and running,” said Lord Coe. “I know myself, from my own experiences, that the ability to absorb the atmosphere of a multi-sports event is really as important a part of that competition process as being out there on the track.
“It’s not the same as going off to an individual event, no matter how important that event is,” he added. “This is a really big learning process. This could just make the difference between appearing in 2014 and getting a medal in 2014, and I would urge you to really use this as a stepping stone.”
John Scott, chief executive of Glasgow 2014, said that Lord Coe’s visit to Scotland House was “an example of the co-operation [between London 2012 and Glasgow 2014] in practice.”
Turning to the athletes, Scott reiterated that the Glasgow Games would be “about you guys – it’s all about the sport. Seb has made that very clear as chair of 2012, and we share that ambition.”
Thursday’s closing ceremony will, said Scott, represent “our big occasion, because that’s when we pick up the flag and move forward towards the next Commonwealth Games. We want our athletes to focus on our handover piece, when we will invite the Commonwealth, and indeed the world, to come to Glasgow and enjoy what we aspire to deliver, which is an outstanding Games.”
Though the handover piece remains shrouded in secrecy until Thursday evening, Scott promised that Glasgow’s contribution to the closing ceremony would be “an interesting, classic, fantastic piece of creativity from Scotland.”