sport

Olympic Stadium back in action

The Olympic Stadium will host three days of athletics, including a dedicated day of Paralympic action, in July, British Athletics has revealed.

The London Anniversary Games, which will take place from July 26-28, will incorporate 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.

London 2012 chief Sebastian Coe hailed a three-day event as an "important part of the London 2012 legacy''.

And double London 2012 gold medallist Hannah Cockroft backed Great Britain's Paralympians to once more pack the stadium to its 80,000 capacity and build on the interest in Paralympic sport generated by the Games.

Coe, who chaired the London 2012 Organising Committee and is now chairman of the British Olympic Association, said: "I am delighted that the London Anniversary Games has been confirmed as three days of international athletics this July.

"London 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.

"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.''

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 and be a key step toward securing a London Paralympic legacy.

London mayor Boris Johnson said: "We are already set to mark the anniversary of the tremendous London 2012 opening ceremony with the world's finest athletes returning to compete in this great stadium this summer.

"Now this anniversary celebration is complete with top international

Paralympians set to join the party giving us an extra day of world-class

sporting action.''

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.

"It's really exciting,'' said the Halifax 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 and I guess that's where the whole world will see if the legacy really has worked.''

Former Olympic 400m champion Christine Ohuruogu added: "The London Diamond League has always been one of my favourite meets so it's fantastic that it's retaining its two day format.

"The atmosphere in the stadium was phenomenal last year and I'll never forget it - it was very special for me as a local girl.''

British Athletics chief executive Niels de Vos said demand for tickets had already been "huge'' and urged fans to register for them.