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London Marathon To Be Safe And Secure, Says British Sports Minister

posted 16 Apr 2013, 04:40 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 16 Apr 2013, 04:41 ]

British Sports Minister Hugh Robertson promises London will deliver a safe marathon as security reviewed after Boston bombings

 LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (ITN) -  British sports minister Hugh Robertson says he has every confidence theLondon marathon will pass off without incident on Sunday (April 21).

Security is being scrutinised for the event, which will attract 36,000 runners, in the wake of Monday's (April 15) horrific scenes in Boston, where explosions near the finish line killed at least three people and wounded more than 100.

The Boston blasts, which left many people gravely injured, detonated close to spectators standing behind roadside barriers.

It was the worst bombing on U.S. soil since security was tightened after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and President Barack Obama promised to hunt down whoever was responsible for the attack on a day when tens of thousands of spectators packed the streets to watch the world-famous race.

The Metropolitan Police, who will also mount a large security operation for the funeral of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher on Wednesday (April 17), said it was liaising with race organisers.

Robertson said he was confident of security arrangements for the London marathon and encouraged people to attend as a show of solidarity with Boston.

"There are already very detailed security plans that affect the London marathon. We deal with major events in London on a daily or weekly basis. There is a big (Margaret Thatcher's) funeral tomorrow for example," he said on Tuesday (April 16).

"We have enormous experience dating back the Olympics and other sports events. I was privileged enough as the minister responsible for the day-to-day management of the London 2012 Games to see what the Metropolitan police, to see our security services, to see our Armed Forces on a daily basis last summer," Robertson added.

"We have some of the very best, if not the best professionals in the world working on a daily basis to keep us safe and I am as confident as you possible can be at this stage that we will deliver a safe and secure marathon on Sunday."

Britain's double Olympic champion Mo Farah is set to compete in the 26-mile (41.84 kilometres) London race, which starts at Greenwich Park and winds through some of the city's iconic landmarks before finishing at the Mall.

The London race was first run in 1981 and has become a centrepiece of the sporting calendar in Britain with elite athletes being joined by the vast number of amateur runners who compete to raise money for charity.

Hundreds of thousands of people line the course with music and food stalls adding to the party atmosphere.