sport

Street athletics head to London

The Anniversary Games will take the form of a 'street athletics' event and be staged at Horse Guards Parade Ground and The Mall this summer.

The landmarks will stage pole vault, long jump and shot put competitions and track races over two sessions in front of a crowd of 20,000 on July 20, British Athletics has announced.

The event, which commemorates the anniversary of the opening ceremony of London 2012, took place at the Olympic Stadium last year, but that venue is unavailable this time as it is undergoing redevelopment. The exact date of the anniversary, July 27, was not an option, because that is the day the athletics programme starts at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, said: "Last year's sell-out Sainsbury's Anniversary Games were yet another great example of how London is now a natural home for international sport.

"This year's return is a golden opportunity to see our Olympic and Paralympic superstars in action set against the spectacular backdrop of Horse Guards Parade Ground and The Mall in St James's Park."

Olympic long jump champion Greg Rutherford, who last month set a new British record of 8.51 metres, will compete in the event.

Helping to launch it, he said: "It's a great place to be and I think it's going to be incredibly special to hold the Sainsbury's Anniversary Games here.

"It's one of the most iconic parts of London and you just have to look at the backdrop of Horse Guards to see the London Eye and just around the corner we've the Queen sipping on her tea.

"By the time I come to compete, I will be in the best shape of the year and I'll be looking to jump far here."

Horse Guards Parade proved perhaps the most spectacular venue at the London Olympics, staging the beach volleyball.

'Street athletics' is already staged with great success in Manchester and Tyneside, with the annual Great Manchester CityGames and Great North CityGames. The format is a big hit with athletes as well as spectators.

The registration period to enter the ballot for tickets will open at 9am on Tuesday via britishathletics.org.uk.