British Athletics claim the large queues at the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games ticket office last night, which led to a number of frustrated fans heading home out of pocket, was caused by “a substantial increase in walk-up purchasers”.
Thousands of fans who had paid up to £50 ($78/€71) in advance had to wait up to two hours in the rain to get their tickets from a temporary box office manned by just two people, with many giving up and consequently missing Usain Bolt’s triumph in the men’s 100 metres and home favourite Mo Farah’s success in the men’s 3,000m.
British Athletics issued a statement in response to the fiasco, claiming an influx of fans wanting to buy tickets on the night for the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Diamond League meet had caused the problem.
“A number of spectators had extended queuing times at ticket collection due to a substantial increase in walk-up purchasers,” it read.
“Extra resource was put in place to process the queues with the majority in their seats by the start of the main Diamond League programme at 8pm.”
As well as Farah, another British winner on the night was 20-year-old Anguilla-born sprinter Zharnel Hughes, a member of Bolt’s training group in Jamaica, who registered a personal best time of 20.05sec to win the 200m.
There was also home success in the women’s 1500m as Laura Weightman secured victory, but that was little consolation for some disgruntled fans.
“None of the stewards knew what was going on,” Craig Williams, a fan from Coventry, told the Daily Mail.
“Everyone was being directed to the main ticket office to collect tickets and there were thousands of people getting angry as the event had started.
“Some people just wanted to walk-up and buy tickets.
“We waited in line with hundreds of people in front of us for half an hour but had barely moved so gave up and went home.”
July 2015: Bolt posts season's best time to win 100m at Sainsbury's Anniversary Games