Friday February 15, 2013
Paralympic day to top off London Diamond weekend
LONDON: Londonís Olympic Stadium will stage three days of athletics in July, including one devoted solely to Paralympic competition, British Athletics has announced.
The London Anniversary Games, which will take place from July 26-28 and in the process mark a year since the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics, will incorporate the annual two-day Diamond League meeting today and tomorrow, but also, for the first time, a day of purely Paralympic competition on the Sunday.
Sebastian Coe, who chaired the London 2012 Organising Committee and is now chairman of the British Olympic Association, said it was terrific news.
ďI am delighted that the London Anniversary Games has been confirmed as three days of international athletics this July.
ďLondon 2012 was an amazing year for British sport and what a way to celebrate its success by welcoming the world back to London once more to watch the biggest names in athletics.Ē
British middle distance great Coe, the Olympic 1,500m gold medallist at both the 1980 and 1984 Games in Moscow and Los Angeles respectively, added he hoped this Julyís event would build on the success of London 2012.
ďIt 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 Iím sure the London Anniversary Games will go a long way to inspiring the next generation of track and field fans.Ē
Former Olympic 400m champion Christine Ohuruogu, who grew up in Stratford, added: ďThe London Diamond League has always been one of my favourite meets so itís fantastic that itís retaining its two day format.
ďThe atmosphere in the stadium was phenomenal last year and Iíll never forget it Ė it was very special for me as a local girl.Ē
Officials had already announced the London Diamond League meeting would move to the Olympic venue in the eastern district of Stratford from Crystal Palace in south London.
But on Wednesday they said in addition to the usual track and field meeting on the first two days, the weekend would be topped off by a day of Paralympic competition in the Olympic Stadium, that will come soon after the International Paralympic Committee World Championships in Lyon, eastern France.
Earlier in July, two rock music concerts will see the 80,000-seater Olympic Stadium used for the first time since the Paralympics closing ceremony in September.
Although the Olympic Stadium is due to stage the 2017 World Athletics Championships, doubt remains over its long-term future.
English Premier League football club West Ham have been named as the preferred bidder for the tenancy and a final decision on their bid is expected before April.
The £292mil (US$463mil, 348mil) complete transformation of the Olympic Park, which began when the London 2012 Games ended, is set to take 18 months. ó AFP