The world’s best para-athletes, including the stars of the London 2012 Paralympic Games, will be back battling for victory in the former Olympic Stadium at the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games, incorporating the IPC Athletics Grand Prix final, on Sunday 26 July.
ParalympicsGB London 2012 stars, including David Weir, Hannah Cockroft, Richard Whitehead, Shelly Woods, Aled Davies and Dan Greaves, are hoping the roar of the home crowd will spur them on against fierce international competition, just as it did in the stadium three years ago.
With the World Championships in Doha in October and the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games in just over a year, more than 100 para-athletes are travelling to London from across the world to compete in 20 events in the former Olympic Stadium.
The head-to-head clash between David Weir, winner of four gold medals in London 2012, and Swiss arch-rival Marcel Hug will also be hotly anticipated. Fans will also be hoping that London 2012 silver medallist Richard Browne (USA) can break his world record in the T44 100m and get even closer to the 10 second mark.
Fans will also be looking forward to seeing the world’s fastest female double-amputee, Marlou van Rhijn of the Netherlands, in action over 100m and a battle for 1500m T54 crown between the experienced GB Paralympic medallist Shelly Woods and young-gun Jade Jones.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “Three years since London hosted a triumphant Olympic and Paralympic Games, it is fantastic to welcome back once again the gladiators of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park coliseum for what will be a truly magical weekend of sport.
“The Sunday of the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games is the first opportunity since the Games to witness the return of 2012 Paralympic hero David Weir, who joins Hannah Cockroft and Richard Whitehead on the track. I urge Londoners to combine an afternoon of superb family entertainment at the Liberty Festival with cheering on Britain’s Paralympic stars.”
David Weir said: "After winning four gold medals in the Stadium in 2012 being back there racing will be like a homecoming for me and all the ParalympicsGB and international athletes. It is going to be a great atmosphere and tough competition, with just a few months to the IPC World Championships and just over a year to the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. I'm racing athletes I beat in London 2012 and the target is on my back. I hope the home crowd can help me get over the finish line in first place again."
Highlights of the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games IPC Grand Final include:
David Weir MBE, winner of four gold medals at London 2012, going to head-to-head with arch-rival Marcel Hug (Switzerland), who Weir beat into second at the London 2012 Games. Hug, the current World and European 1500m T54 champion and world record holder will be looking to inflict his first defeat against the ‘Weirwolf’ in a major track race.
T42 World Champion and world record holder, Richard Whitehead MBE, will be looking for the strength and support from the crowd that saw him surge from behind to win the London 2012 gold medal. Whitehead goes against Regas Woods (USA), the fastest in the world this year, and Army Officer David Henson MBE, who won the 2014 Invictus Games and captained the British team.
British teenage sprint sensation, Sophie Hahn, who started racing after watching the London 2012 Games and a year later was 100m T38 World Champion and world record holder. Hahn will face London 2012 gold medallist Margarita Goncharova (Russia), who briefly took the world record last year before Hahn won it back 24-hours later.
In the long jump T44 London 2012 gold medallist, Markus Rehm (Germany), could set a stadium record if he extends his incredible world record of 8.24m by 7cm to Greg Rutherford’s gold medal-winning distance at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
In the shot put and club throw, Brits Sabrina Fortune and Gemma Prescott are up against the world number one. World Champion and world record holder Aled Davies MBE will be looking to repeat his London 2012 victory in the discus, while Dan Greaves takes on his longtime rival and London 2012 gold medallist Jeremy Campbell.
The Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games coincides with National Paralympic Day, annual celebration of para-sport in Great Britain.