Hampden turf dug up...and will be put back on 6ft stilts

WORK has started on transforming Scotland's National Football Stadium into a world-class athletics arena for next year's Commonwealth Games.

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  • Hampden is being made ready for the Commonwealth Games
    Hampden is being made ready for the Commonwealth Games
  • Hampden is being made ready for the Commonwealth Games
  • Hampden is being made ready for the Commonwealth Games

The famous Hampden Park turf was lifted and sections were presented to lucky members of the Tartan Army by Glasgow 2014 chief executive David Grevemberg.

Overseeing the start of operations was wheelchair racer Meggan Dawson- Farrell, 20, who will compete in the stadium for Scotland at the Games.

Hampden Park will take centre stage as the venue where the Commonwealth's elite track and field athletes go head to head for gold and glory in front of sell-out crowds.

As part of the temporary transformation, the stadium will be given a dramatic new look to gain the width and length required for an International Association Of Athletics Federation- approved track.

The playing surface will be raised by more than 6ft on a grid of structural steel stilts.

It will be the first time this technology has been used on this scale to deliver a world-class athletics event.

For Games time, the arena will be transformed into a 44,000 seater stadium before returning Hampden to its current 52,000 capacity at the end of the event.

Work to reconfigure the stadium is expected to be finished by mid-May, with the venue expected to play host to the 2014 Scottish Schools Athletics Championships in June.

The removal of the pitch means Queen's Park FC will now play the rest of this season's 'home' matches at Excelsior Stadium, Airdrie.

Hampden Park has already benefitted from its link to the Games, with the Organising Committee funding a £3million permanent extension to the stadium's North Stand, including new and improved spectator facilities.

The work was completed in time for last season's Scottish Cup final in May.

Mr Grevemberg said: "We are thrilled our exciting, innovative and sustainable plans will temporarily transform one of the world's great football stadiums into a fantastic competition venue for the elite athletes of the Commonwealth.

"The stadium and the packed crowds inside it will undoubtedly create a fantastic atmosphere for these great athletes."

Hampden Park managing director Peter Dallas said: "After six years of detailed planning, this 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."

Commonwealth Games Minister Shona Robison said: "As the home of Scottish football, Hampden has a special place in the hearts of many Scots.

"It is fitting our national stadium will play a key role when Scotland welcomes the world in 2014 when the Commonwealth's best athletes and more than 44,000 spectators will experience for themselves Scotland's legendary Hampden roar."

vivienne.nicoll@ eveningtimes.co.uk

Football

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