Five years after London hosted the best Paralympic Games, the British capital staged the most successful World Para Athletics Championships yet.
Record crowds, TV audiences and social media reach, combined with the record breaking performances of athletes, are just some of the reasons why the London 2017 World Para Athletics Championships is No. 4 on the International Paralympic Committee’s Top 50 Moments of 2017.
World records galore
There was no shortage of stand-out performances at London 2017 as athletes smashed 33 world records during 10 days of competition.
In the field Great Britain’s Aled Davies, the USA’s Jean-Paul Isaac and Latvia’s Diana Dadzite all set new records in the shot put, high jump and javelin respectively.
On the track, Brazil’s 100m T47 sprinter Petruccio Ferreira’s clocked 10.53 seconds, the second fastest time ever by a Para athlete, while Great Britain’s women also shone. Hannah Cockroft (100m T34) Sophie Hahn (100m T38), Sophie Kamlish (100m T44), Sammy Kinghorn (200m T53) and Georgina Hermitage (400m T37) all went faster than ever before.
China, helped by a hat-trick of world titles from T53 racer Zhou Hongzhuan, topped the medals table, amassing 65 medals, including 30 golds.
With four golds each, Canada’s Brent Lakatos, Tunisia’s Walid Ktila and the USA’s Tatyana McFadden topped the list of multi-medallists.
Off the track success
After less than 15,000 people attend the Doha 2015 World Championships, a record 305,000 tickets were sold for London 2017. This included two morning sessions which were each attended by 40,000 local and extremely vocal school children.
One of the innovations of the Championships was the creation of a medals plaza outside of the stadium. Open to the public each day, the “Hero Village” saw thousands of fans witness athletes receiving their medals.
London 2017 also broke new ground in terms of broadcasting; 23 right holders covered the event in 87 countries, 20 more than Doha 2015.
Through digital media London 2017 reached nearly 100 million people, while a further 46 million people viewed videos from the Championships. Nearly 600,000 people visited the IPC website, even more than for the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.
“Big crowds, a lot of media attention, a lot of attention in general. An actual stadium to compete in. My first world championship in New Zealand back in 2011, we probably had 100 people a day. In Doha two years ago we probably had about 10. Lyon was a good step up after 2012, but this one has just blown it out of the water in terms of organisation. It’s just been perfect, we’ve been so well looked after and treated,” a delighted Cockroft told The Guardian.
Speaking at the Closing Ceremony Andrew Parsons, the then Vice President of the IPC summed up the mood perfectly.
"The IPC could not be happier with the performances of the athletes here, and with the organising committee. They have set a blueprint and a benchmark for the next championships."
The countdown of the IPC’s Top 50 Moments continues until 31 December.