Lutfur Rahman: We welcome the Americans

By Lutfur Rahman


London's East End will play host to two great national and international events this year: the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations and, of course, the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The Games will bring all sorts of new and hopefully lasting opportunities in their wake.

But I also hear the concerns of many when they say that Tower Hamlets will take much of the strain of the Games, while not seeing as much gain.

But this week there is good news to report. The world's most successful athletic team - the US track and field team - will be based in our borough carrying out their Olympic training at Mile End Stadium.

It's great that the team has chosen a Tower Hamlets facility, especially as this also means new investment from the United States Olympic Committee - and therefore something tangible for our young people when the Games come to an end.

It was great this week to see USA gold medallists Jon Drummond (sprint relay, Sydney 2000) and Benita Fitzgerald-Mosley (sprint hurdles, Los Angeles 1984) visit young people at Mile End Park Leisure Centre.

These athletes are real role models and teenagers from the borough's schools attended the event.

I would like to see many more events and opportunities such as this, to compensate for the downsides. But this week's events are a good start.

■ Lutfur Rahman is executive mayor, Tower Hamlets Council