Athletes view Glasgow 2014 arena

Maldon and Burnham Standard: Turf was dug up at Hampden Park to prepare the stadium for the 2014 Commonwealth Games Turf was dug up at Hampden Park to prepare the stadium for the 2014 Commonwealth Games

Scotland's national football stadium has begun its transformation into a world-class athletics arena as the countdown to Glasgow 2014 continues.

Olympic gold medallist Jessica Ennis-Hill and champion hurdler Eilidh Child became the first athletes to view the new track, which sits on steel stilts at Hampden Park.

The specialist surface will be laid next month in preparation for the 20th Commonwealth Games in July.

Ennis-Hill is expecting her first child and will not be competing at the Games but remains a high-profile ambassador for Glasgow 2014.

Child is aiming to win medals in the 400m hurdles and 400m relay event.

Glasgow 2014 chief executive David Grevemberg said: "We're really proud of what we've accomplished so far.

"To have the platform built and solution working, we are absolutely delighted.

"It has been tested and tried in the east end of Glasgow about a year and a half ago."

Child, who took silver in the 400m hurdles at the 2010 Games, said: "I've not been able to get my head round how it would look until today.

"It's really coming together and beginning to look like an athletes' track now. I t's nice to see where the crowd are going to be and just get a feel for it."

The athlete has previously been to the stadium as a Hearts supporter.

She said: "It still feels like the Hampden I know but it's got added excitement now."

Ennis-Hill said: " I won't be here competing.It's a very different year for me but very exciting.

"It's nice to come and have a look at what it's going to be like in July.

"It looks fantastic, with the amount of work that's gone into raising the level of the stadium, it looks brilliant already."

Hampden closed its doors in December and d iggers moved in to remove the stadium's turf.

Around 6,000 steel stilts were put in place to raise the surface by about 6ft (2m), creating the width and length required for an International Association of Athletics Federations-approved track.

During the Games, the stadium will seat 44,000 people, returning to its 52,000 capacity when the track is removed and it is handed back to Hampden Park authorities in November.

According to the project team, the £14 million stadium transformation is the first of its kind.

Ian McKenzie, Glasgow 2014's head of venue development, said: "It's a world first. We looked around to see if it had been done before and it hadn't.

"We've to finish putting the tarmac down and the specialist running track surface itself goes down next month.

"Once that's done, it's ready to go. It's gone to plan, the deck has gone in exactly as we hoped it would."

Scottish hurdler Chris Baillie tested a mock-up of the track created in the summer of 2012.

"We wanted it to feel like any other outdoor track, we didn't want it to feel like an indoor track," said Mr McKenzie.

"We had to be sure we were on the right track, if you'll pardon the pun."

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