Olympic stadium to stage Games anniversary meet

London's Olympic Stadium will stage an international athletics meeting in July to mark the first anniversary of the 2012 Games opening ceremony, it was announced Thursday.

Fireworks burst in the sky above the cauldron bearing the Paralympic Flame at the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in east London on August 29, 2012. The stadium will stage an international athletics meeting in July to mark the first anniversary of the 2012 Games opening ceremony

The British Athletics London Grand Prix will take place at the venue in Stratford, east London, on the weekend of July 27 and be the first sporting event staged there since the Paralympics, which followed last year's Olympics.

Britain's Mo Farah, who completed a memorable double to win both the Olympic 5,000 metres and 10,000 metres titles last year, was looking forward to returning to the track where he won two gold medals.

"The atmosphere was electric during the Games, I'll never forget it, so it's great that the British fans and athletes will get to experience that again so soon after the Games," he said.

"It'll be perfect preparation for the World Championships in August."

Meanwhile Olympic heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis, another of Britain's 2012 track and field stars, added: "It is brilliant to hear the British Athletics London GP is going to be held at the Olympic Stadium a year after the Games.

"It will give athletes and fans who did not get to experience the amazing venue the chance to go there, and for those of us who had the most incredible experiences on the track and field, an opportunity to relive a few memories."

The announcement of the athletics meet, part of the Diamond League series, came two days after it was revealed that live rock concerts would be held at the stadium earlier in July.

Wireless Festival and Hard Rock Calling, hitherto held in Hyde Park in central London, will see the 80,000-seater Olympic Stadium used for the first time since the Paralympics closing ceremony in September.

Although the Olympic Stadium is due to stage the 2017 World Athletics Championships, doubt remains over its long-term future.

English Premier League football club West Ham have been named as the preferred bidder for the tenancy and a final decision on their bid is expected before April.

The pound sterling292 million ($463 million, 348 million euro) complete transformation of the Olympic Park, which began when the London 2012 Games ended, is set to take 18 months.

The site, featuring new homes and schools, state-of-the-art venues and public parklands, is set to open in phases from July. It is due to be fully open by early 2014.

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Writer: AFP
Position: News agency