“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."
British Paralympic and world champion sprinter Richard Whitehead and British Olympian Perri Shakes-Drayton joined in the first phase of ‘track transformation’ this week ahead of the 2017 London World Athletics Championships.
The London 2012 track where Whitehead won 200m T42 Paralympic gold 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 were invited to remove the final pieces of the Olympic stadium track – including the finish line where Britain’s David Weir celebrated three of his four golds from the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
The new track will be laid in late spring in time for a range of fantastic events this summer including July’s London Anniversary Games.
Richard Whitehead created one of the iconic moments of the London 2012 Paralympics when he won gold in a then world record time of 24.38 seconds. He confirmed London 2017 will be his final ever track race and cannot imagine a better stage on which to end his career.
“London 2017 will be the greatest occasion for me to end my career,” said Whitehead. “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. 3,300 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.
The 2017 Para-Athletics World Championships will take place between 15-23 July 2017.