World 400m champion Christine Ohuruogu (Lloyd Cowan) swept away the final protective layer of soil from the finish line in the former Olympic Stadium at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, ahead of the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games on 24-26th July. The event will be the final time the original London 2012 track is used, before a new surface is laid for the 2017 World Championships.
It’s the first time the full track has seen the light of day since the Stadium transformation work began 18 months ago, and Stratford girl Ohuruogu spoke of her excitement at returning to compete in the 400m, in her own backyard, on the track where she won an Olympic silver medal to add to her gold from Beijing in 2008.
The Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games includes a two-day Diamond League meeting on Friday 24th and Saturday 25th July, with the Sainsbury’s IPC Athletics Grand Prix Final taking place on Sunday 26th July.
Star names such as British Olympic champions Mo Farah (Alberto Salazar), Jessica Ennis-Hill (Toni Minichiello) and Greg Rutherford (Jonas Tawiah-Dodoo) will also compete.
Ohuruogu said: “It’s fantastic to be standing on the Olympic track again after so long and being chosen to remove the final protective layer from the finish line is a real honour. Just being here makes me even more excited about returning to compete at the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games in July, which is a really special event.
“To have the world best athletes back racing in this incredible venue, in front of an amazing British crowd, in my home town of Stratford means a lot to me.
“It will not only bring back great memories of London 2012 and the 2013 Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games, but it will begin a new and exciting era for athletics in this country, with the Olympic Stadium at the centre of things for the next 50 years.”
The Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games takes place just four weeks before the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Beijing. The meeting will provide an important yardstick for Britain’s top athletes as they prepare to battle for medals in China.
Ohuruogu said, “The Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games will be pivotal part of my preparations of Beijing, where I’m aiming to retain my world title. The event is only a month before the World Championships, so I’ll be looking for a good performance to give me confidence going into those final few weeks.
“I’m sure the crowd and the atmosphere will motivate me even more and I’m planning to be in the best shape possible for that race.”
British Athletics have secured the right to host athletics in the Stadium for one month every year for the next 50 years from 2016.
To buy tickets to the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games visit britishathletics.org.uk. Sainsbury’s is proud to be a long-term supporter of British Athletics and a champion of inclusive sport for all, from grassroots to elite level.