Hampden Gets Commonwealth Games Makeover

4 June 2014, 11:19

Hampden has been transformed into a world-class athletics arena for the Commonwealth Games.

Scotland's national stadium has been temporarily fitted out with an athletics track, turning it into centrepiece of the Glasgow 2014 Games.

The new arena will see more than 1,000 athletes battle for gold in nearly 50 events staged over seven days.

Games organisers said months of construction were required to prepare the football stadium for a different kind of sporting action at next month's spectacle.

As part of the work, the stadium's surface was raised almost two metres, giving it the width and length required for an athletics track built to the required standard. Eight rows of seats had to be removed to accommodate the track.

An infield complete with freshly-cut grass sits on a temporary deck made up of 1,000 base panels supported by in excess of 6,000 steel stilts.

Glasgow 2014 chief executive David Grevemberg said:"The spectacular transformation of Hampden Park from iconic football stadium to world-class athletics venue is an achievement of which Glasgow and Scotland can be justifiably proud.

"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."

The stadium will accommodate a crowd of over 40,000 athletics fans while organisers expect the Games to be watched by a worldwide TV audience of more than one billion people.

Unveiling the new-look arena, Olympic steeplechaser and Team Scotland athlete Eilish McColgan, daughter of former 10,000m world champion Liz 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 stand-out 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 crowd as a Scottish athlete will be on another level.

"Having the 'Hampden Roar' behind me as I push down the home straight will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I can't wait to give it my all and do my very best."

Commonwealth Games and Sport Secretary Shona Robison said: "This new athletics track is truly fantastic and another excellent example of how ready we are for these Games. This completes an amazing transformation of Hampden Park.

"I am also very pleased that there is work ongoing to ensure that the running tracks will be relocated after the Games, providing a valuable legacy and, hopefully, encouraging many more future Scottish athletes."

Check out a timelapse video of the refit above.

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