London 2017: Speech by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan

The Mayor speaks of his pride at the British capital staging the World Para Athletics Championships. 14 Jul 2017
Portrait photo of a man doing a speech

London Mayor Sadiq Khan speaks at the Opening Ceremony of the 2017 World Para Athletics Championships in London.

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Ladies and Gentleman.

To all the athletes here ready to compete on the world stage.

And to all the family, friends and supporters here from every corner of the globe.

It’s a privilege to say:

Welcome to London.


I’m proud that our city is bringing together the best athletes on our planet to our iconic Olympic Park.

In 2012, London helped to re-define the image of Para sport.

And now – over the coming days - we have another opportunity to shine a light on these amazing athletes and to take us to the next level.

The next level on the journey to full parity - with Para sport receiving the equal status it deserves.


Sport is about competition – and aiming to win.

But it also has an amazing power to transform lives.

Not just for those who take part, but for millions watching around the world.

And I know this event over the next 9 days will inspire a new generation to strive for greatness - and will open the eyes of millions to new possibilities.

Sport also has an extraordinary ability to unite us.

To bring out what’s best about humankind.

And to bring people together from different backgrounds, faiths and nationalities.


London has faced a difficult time in recent weeks – a tragic fire and two terrorist attacks on our city.

One perfect antidote to this hatred and sorrow are events like this one.

Because it’s a perfect demonstration that London remains open, diverse and united – and that we’ll always be a beacon of equality and respect.


During these difficult weeks for London, we’ve also seen the best of humankind in how people have responded.

And - in particular - I want to pay tribute to our brave emergency services – our police service, our fire service and our NHS.

I’m pleased we’ve got thousands of heroes from our emergency services and hospitals here to enjoy this ceremony - so let’s take this opportunity to say thank you again to them…



To my fellow Londoners.

To all the staff and volunteers.

To UK Athletics, UK Sport and the London Borough of Newham:

Thank you for your hard work.

And for making this possible.

It’s with huge pride that I can now declare the 2017 World Para Athletics Championships officially - OPEN.