14 July 2014
On Sunday 20 July, two of London's most iconic venues in St James’ Park will again be transformed into sports arenas as elite athletes for the 2014 Sainsbury's Anniversary Games.
Horse Guards Parade Ground, which hosted beach volleyball at the London 2012 Games, will see a temporary stadium created around a purpose built athletics track showcasing sprints and hurdles, high jump, pole vault and long jump. A host of world, Olympic and Paralympic champions are scheduled to compete including Team GB’s Greg Rutherford and Jonnie Peacock, who won gold on ‘Super Saturday’ and ‘Thriller Thursday’ respectively at London 2012. Pole vault world record holder Renaud Lavillenie, Olympic and world 100m gold medallist Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, world 110m hurdles champion David Oliver and Olympic 100m hurdles champion Sally Pearson will be among the international stars to line-up on the track and field.
A two mile course will also be laid on The Mall, featuringelite Olympic and Paralympic races. After the success of the road races in 2012 and events like the Tour de France, this is another chance for the people of London to see top class sport for free.
For Dave Weir in particular, it will mark an emotional return to the scene of his fourth gold medal triumph in 2012, as he sprinted to marathon victory on The Mall.
Weir said: "I can’t wait to line up on The Mall next Sunday at the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games, which will be a wonderful celebration of London 2012.
"The Olympics and Paralympics in London was the best of times and I think we will recapture a bit of that special feeling again on Sunday.
“Taking athletics out of its traditional stadium setting is a great idea and I hope people who have never seen top-class athletics close up, will take the opportunity to enjoy this event at one of the most iconic locations in London.
“There is an incredible line-up of talent at the event, with a host of Paralympic, Olympic and World champions, and it’s great that the crowds will be able to watch some of them for free on The Mall.
“London's my home town and it’s always fantastic to compete here. The British public love sport and this will be one of the most memorable days of sport in London this summer.”
London 2012 double Paralympic gold medallist Hannah Cockroft (Jenni Banks) will also compete at the event in the T34 100m on Sunday.
Double World Indoor champion and world record holder Genzebe Dibaba will lead the field in the women’s one mile, while in the men’s 2 mile, British legend Mo Farah (Alberto Salazar) hopes to recover from his recent illness in time to compete.
The free events on The Mall start at 3pm, with the ticketed sessions in the Horse Guards Parade Ground stadium running from 1-3pm and 6-8pm.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: "London loves sport and is a world-beating host for international fixtures. The Sainsbury's Anniversary Games is yet another opportunity to see top flight sport in action set against the stunning backdrop of Horse Guards Parade and the Mall. This weekend's spectacular is sure to recreate the magic of London's smash hit 2012 Games as we welcome the return of many of its medal-winning superstars."
Sainsbury’s Head of Sponsorship, Tara Hewitt, said: “Following our sponsorship of the London Paralympic Games it’s fitting to mark the anniversary by bringing some of the world’s best athletes right into the centre of the city. Whether you’ve got a ticket to Horse Guards Parade or will be heading to The Mall to watch some of the free races, expect a memorable day out.”
The creation of the bespoke athletics stadium in Horse Guards Parade Ground is a world first and will allow those with tickets to see athletics in a uniquely intimate setting. To buy tickets visit britishathletics.org.uk.
The venue has been designed and built by Nova International, whose Chairman former Olympic medallist Brendan Foster said: “The Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games is a wonderful opportunity to deliver a ground breaking athletics event right in the heart of London. We are delighted to be working in partnership with British Athletics to jointly deliver this event on 20 July in Horse Guards Parade.”
Tickets for the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games on Sunday 20 July are available by visiting britishathletics.org.uk