DAVID BECKHAM celebrated a famous victory last night after London won the rights to stage the 2017 World Athletics Championships.
In a triumph for legacy over lucre London beat gasrich Qatari capital Doha 16-10 in a vote in Monaco.
“Another great win for Seb and the team,” said Beckham in praise of 2012 Olympics boss Sebastian Coe and his colleagues.
Beckham, who helped with the Olympics bid, added: “It will be fantastic for the city and the country. Never would have imagined where I was born in the East End hosting two world class sporting events.”
London was given the nod despite Doha pledging to foot the bill for the £5million prize money and promising a further £18m in sponsorship.
But athletics chiefs instead bought into London’s promise that the World Championships offered the “greatest possible legacy off the back of the Olympics”.
London mayor Boris Johnson said: “I think in the end they felt we wanted it for the right reasons: to do athletics proud as a sport.”
No sooner had the result been announced by International Association of Athletics Federations president Lamine Diack, than Lord Coe vowed: “We won’t let you down.”
Coe was credited by Johnson with tilting the vote London’s way with a heartfelt speech to the IAAF.
“This means everything to me,” admitted Coe. “It’s my sport, it’s what I am. I’ve been involved in track and field for over 40 years.
“To get the third largest sporting event in the world back in that stadium in 2017 is an extraordinary opportunity.” With the future of the £500m Olympic Stadium running track at stake, London pulled out all the stops to seal the deal.
At the 11th hour they pledged to match Doha’s prize-money promise and Sports minister Hugh Robertson gave an “unbreakable guarantee” the track would remain, assuring a permanent athletics legacy in the venue.
“The Olympic Stadium now has a very, very clear destiny,” said Johnson. “It’s going to be a multi-use, multisport stadium.”