Culture secretary Chris Smith has dismissed fears that the £120m athletics stadium to be built in north-east London will be too small to host the Olympic Games.

Smith said: “This is a bogus issue. The question is simply whether the stadium at Picketts Lock can be used for an Olympic venue, and the bottom line is that it can.”

Smith’s comment follows speculation that the stadium will not be adequate for Olympic events, echoing similar claims over the development of the new national stadium at Wembley, north-west London, last year.

The Picketts Lock stadium design is for a 60 000-seat venue. However, Olympic criteria stipulate that the host nation must have a stadium capable of housing a minimum of 80 000 people.

Smith said this would not be a problem. “The current design for a 60 000-seater stadium can be easily extended to accommodate an additional 20 000 if necessary. There is also sufficient space to build a warm-up track next to the stadium, which the Olympic committee would insist on.”

The new stadium is to be built on the 125-acre Lee Valley regional park in a partnership between UK Athletics, the British Olympics Association, the Government Office for London, UK Sport and the Department for Media, Culture and Sport.