Two tickets per athlete is sensible - Karen Pickering

CHAIR of the British Athletes’ Commission Karen Pickering believes this year’s Olympians are fortunate to be receiving two priority tickets for family and friends for each of their events.

It emerged last week that hurdler Dai Greene resorted to Twitter to buy more tickets from a member of the public after revealing he had not won any more in the Olympic ticket ballots.

Each Olympian is entitled to buy two tickets, the first time such a privilege has ever been afforded, and Pickering said that was a sensible move, although she did express her sympathy towards athletes such as Greene who wanted more.

“I can understand why he would be unhappy at not being able to purchase more,” said Pickering, a four-time Olympian.

“It’s a difficult situation and two tickets might seem harsh but this is the first time that Olympians have been afforded this benefit.

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“It might seem a bit tight but this is a massive step forward, especially when you consider the number of athletes taking part in London.

“I am not sure whether or not each country gets the same benefit but, whether they do or not, more than two tickets per athlete would make it difficult for anyone else to buy them.”

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Pickering revealed that when she was competing in the pool, her parents would often have to pay for packages that included sports they might not want to see, just to secure tickets to watch their daughter.

She also said they were put in a difficult position prior to her qualification as they were faced with the dilemma of whether or not they should buy tickets for an event, that potentially their daughter might not qualify for.

“When I was competing at the Olympics, my mum and dad had to buy their tickets from travel companies and would have to purchase a package which might have included events that they did not want to see,” said Pickering.

“They did not necessarily know where they were going to be sat and it cost them a fortune each time.

“Quite often you don’t want to buy tickets before you know your relative has qualified too so it was always really expensive.

“What is happening for the London Games is a big step forward and two tickets per athlete is still a big outlay.

“Logistically, after a heat, you still do not know who is going to be in the semi-final or final, so it is a massive operation.

“There may be more flexibility for athletes when it comes to competing at Grand Prix meetings or World Cup events but take cricket for example, I think the England players are only given three tickets for each game they play.”

Other athletes are now thought to be resorting to similar measures and a random group of five people have bought a total of 14 tickets from foreign ticket sellers for Olympic rowing gold medallist Zac Purchase.

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