March 10 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, February 14, 2013
Double London 2012 gold medallist Hannah Cockroft has backed Great Britain’s Paralympic stars to once again sell out the Olympic Stadium after it was confirmed para-athletics will return to the iconic venue this summer.
The Stratford stadium will host three days of athletics, including a dedicated day of Paralympic action, in July in the form of the London Anniversary Games.
They will take place from July 26-28 and incorporate not only the annual two-day Diamond League meeting on the Friday and Saturday, but also, for the first time, a day of purely Paralympic competition on the Sunday.
And wheelchair racer Cockroft, who won T34 100m and 200m gold in London, is already relishing the chance to race again in front of a full house and help build on the interest in Paralympic sport generated by the Games.
“It’s really exciting,” said the athlete. “The fact that we’re going to have a full audience, and be able to relive the fun.
“We know that we can fill that stadium now - we did it with 80,000 people, two sessions a day for 10 days. So we know that we can fill the stadium one more time for just one day.
“If we can do that then that shows the interest is still there. That’s a real challenge for us now to see if people are still interested in what we’re doing. It’s fantastic that we’re getting the opportunity to try that out.
“I think this is all part of the legacy. Everyone has been banging on about it, but this really is it.”
Xavier Gonzalez, the International Paralympic Committee chief executive, added: “We’re delighted that athletes will once again get to compete in the Olympic Stadium, and that spectators will be able to see some of the world’s best para-athletes in action in a venue that holds so many amazing memories following London 2012.”
A return to the Olympic Stadium on the anniversary of the opening ceremony of London 2012 had already been announced, with the British Athletics London Grand Prix moving to the Stratford venue from Crystal Palace, but it has now been confirmed that the meeting will retain its usual two-day format before the stadium hosts a day of Para-athletics. That will follow hot on the heels of the IPC World Championships in Lyon.
London 2012 chief Sebastian Coe hailed a three-day event as an “important part of the London 2012 legacy”.
Coe said: “It is an important part of the London 2012 legacy that as many people as possible experience world class sport in the world class facilities at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and I’m sure the London Anniversary Games will go a long way to inspiring the next generation of track and field fans.”
British Athletics chief executive Niels de Vos said demand for tickets had already been “huge” and urged fans to register for them.
Ticket information for the London Anniversary Games will be issued shortly but fans are being encouraged to register for tickets via www.britishathletics.org.uk