London News & Search
The boss of this year’s London World Para-athletics Championships wants the event to make an immediate return to the city in 2019.
Numerous athletes have called for the event to stay at London Stadium.
More than 230,000 people will attend this year’s championships, with more tickets sold than in all eight of the previous championships combined.
“I’d love it back here in two years’ time,” said Ed Warner, co-chair of London 2017.
“This call from the athletes for it to return here has come organically. Athletes from around the world think this is the place to be.
“Can we make it happen? I hope so. I’ve had some interesting early conversations. I think the door is ajar. The International Paralympic Committee have loved what they’ve seen.”
Canada’s Brent Lakatos, the United States’ Tatyana McFadden and Ireland’s Jason Smyth are among the international athletes to call for the event to return to London.
The London 2017 organising committee is responsible for hosting the World Para-athletics – in partnership with governing body the IPC – as well as the IAAF World Championships, which start in August.
It is the first time both events have been held at the same venue in the same summer and while the locations for the next two IAAF Worlds have been determined, the International Paralympic Committee has yet to announce a 2019 host.
The 2015 championships were held in Doha, where just 15,000 tickets were sold in total.
The London championships will be the best attended outside of a Paralympics, but the 56,000-capacity London Stadium, which hosted athletics at London 2012, has looked sparse at times.
“We’ve had huge audiences by the standards of these championships,” said Warner.
“There are usually tiny audiences and for the first time we’ve had serious crowds. It should be back in this stadium – it’s built for athletics. I’ve seen a lot around the world and this is the best by far.”
What do the athletes say?
Ireland’s double gold medallist in London, Jason Smyth: “The reality is that as an athlete you want to compete in the best stadiums and in front of the most people. When I look back at my career so far, London 2012 was a highlight and it was because of the crowd on top of the medals.
“Looking back at World Championships over the last 10 years, we’ve never been supported as well as we have here. That’s why people like the idea of coming back.”
Germany’s T44 long jump champion Markus Rehm: “It would be great for us to come back. We feel really really welcome here.
“The crowd are amazing and support us so well. We’ve never had audiences like this before in the World Championships. If we had the chance to come back here, I would always do it.”
Germany’s T42 sprinter and long jumper Vanessa Low: “In London, athletes feel like they are accepted for their performance and not for their disability.
“It would be nice to be here again because you can be sure it will be a great championships again. But I’m wondering if we should give another country a chance to match that. Maybe a country can learn from London.”
London News & Search