Leading Olympian Perri Shakes-Drayton and Paralympic and reigning world champion Richard Whitehead today joined in the first phase of ‘track transformation’ ahead of the 2017 London World Athletics Championships.
The London 2012 track is being replaced with a brand new, super-fast surface, laid in time for the two World Championships taking place at the former Olympic Stadium, which begin in 500 days’ time.
Londoner Shakes-Drayton and Whitehead, who won gold over 200m (T42) at the Paralympic Games, were invited to remove the final pieces of the Olympic Stadium track – including the finish line where Usain Bolt celebrated his victory in the men’s 100m final at the London Olympic Games.
The new track will be laid in late spring in time for a range of fantastic events this summer including the London Anniversary Games in July.
Momentum is building for London 2017 with a range of star athletes showing their support for the event with activity to mark 500 days to go.
Perri Shakes-Drayton from Tower Hamlets and Victoria Park Harriers competed at London 2012 in the 400m hurdles and 4x400m relay. She said:
“Dreams were made when athletes like Usain Bolt crossed this famous finish line at the Olympics in 2012 and I hope to be creating new memories for Britain at the London 2017 World Championships.
I feel honoured to be a part of transforming this incredible track in time to make new memories for London 2017. It’s a symbolic and exciting day. The excitement of a major global event coming to London in 500 days’ time is what I’m really looking forward to. London 2017 will create memories which will last a lifetime.”
Richard Whitehead created one of the iconic memories of the Paralympic Games when he won gold in the 200m T42 event in a world record time of 24.38 seconds.
Whitehead said that London 2017 will be his final ever track race and cannot imagine a better stage on which to end his career. He said:
“London 2017 will be the greatest occasion for me to end my career. I plan to retire after London 2017 and it will be the best possible way to bow out of the sport. A home World Championships, back in the Olympic Stadium, will be incredible. London 2017 will be one of those ‘I was there’ moments and will be huge for Britain and for athletics – able-bodied and Paralympic.”
London 2017 have opened a ‘Priority Purchase’ opportunity for members of the athletics family to buy their tickets first.
More information on ticketing for London 2017 will be announced in April including timetable, pricing and key on-sale dates. A volunteering programme will also be launched in the coming months.
London 2017 Championships Director Niels de Vos said:
“London 2017 will be one of the greatest events ever staged in the UK. 3300 athletes from over 200 nations will compete at the former Olympic Stadium. It will be a wonderful celebration of athletics and a fantastic event for families to enjoy.”
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson MP, said:
“Those balmy summer nights in 2012 when London staged the greatest Olympic and Paralympic games in history will never be forgotten and now we have another chance to host the world’s best athletes in the greatest city on earth. I am fully behind London 2017 as we begin the countdown to staging what unquestionably will be another unforgettable global sports event at our now iconic Olympic Park.”
Members of the general public can register now to receive more information on ticketing, volunteering and further news at: www.london2017athletics.com/register