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Digging deep: work to transform Hampden into Glasgow 2014 athletics arena begins

Work to turn Hampden Park into an athletics arena for the Commonwealth Games has begun with the lifting of the stadium's turf.

Picture: Mark Mainz
Picture: Mark Mainz

The venue is being temporarily transformed to host the stars of track and field as they compete for gold in Glasgow next summer.

The playing surface of the stadium is being raised by around 6ft (1.8m), on a grid of steel stilts, to create the width and length required for an International Association of Athletics Federations-approved athletics track.

During the Games the stadium will seat 44,000, returning to its 52,000 capacity at the end of the event.

Wheelchair athlete Meggan Dawson-Farrell, who is competing for Team Scotland in the T54 1,500m at the Games, helped oversee the lifting of the turf.

Commemorative sections of the grass were presented to members of the Tartan Army.

David Grevemberg, chief executive of Glasgow 2014, said: "Hampden is already known the world over as the home of Scottish football and we are thrilled that our exciting, innovative and sustainable plans will temporarily transform one of the world's great football stadiums into a fantastic athletics competition venue for the elite athletes of the Commonwealth."

Hampden Park managing director Peter Dallas said: "After six years of detailed planning, today is another key date in our calendar. Everyone at Hampden is looking forward to assisting with the delivery of the Games which will add another chapter to Hampden's long and proud history.

"Like so many world-class footballers and rock stars before them, the athletes will savour the unique passion and energy created by a full capacity crowd at Hampden."

Michael Cavanagh, of Commonwealth Games Scotland, said selection for Team Scotland is well under way with track and field athletes showing "great form".

He said: "I know just how much they are looking forward to competing at Hampden and I'm delighted work to transform the stadium has now started."

The stadium is expected to be reconfigured by mid-May and is due to host to the Scottish Schools Athletics Championships in June.

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