17 December 2007
Britain's biggest track and field event, the Norwich Union London Grand Prix, is set to become even bigger in 2008 as UK Athletics announced today that the meet will now take place over two days.
Crystal Palace will again play host to the world class meet, set to come to the capital on Friday 25 and Saturday 26 July.
With the Beijing Olympics happening just two weeks later, the Norwich Union London Grand Prix will be the last major competition for many British athletes and stars from around the world before they travel to China.
The UK Athletics event, part of a series of six televised meets across the year, has been extended to provide a final outing on UK soil, and the perfect send off, for many of the Norwich Union GB & NI team set to compete in Beijing.
The Crystal Palace stadium has been the venue for the country’s top grand prix for forty years, with world class performances on the track and in the field.
The move is sure to help satisfy spectator demand for an event that traditionally attracts a sell out crowd of 17,500, with UK Athletics keen to allow even more people the chance to enjoy the sport first hand as Olympic fever intensifies.
The extended format will allow organisers to lay on up to 36 events, with the intention of including the blue ribbon sprints events – the 100m, 200m and 4 x 100m relay - for both men and women – all star attractions ahead of the Olympic Games.
Niels de Vos, Chief Executive of UK Athletics said:
“The Norwich Union London Grand Prix is one of the most popular athletics events in the world and it always attracts the biggest names in the sport. Having the meeting over two days means more people will be able to watch some fantastic athletics in what is the last major event before the 2008 Olympics. We look forward to putting on a great show for all spectators and give the Norwich Union GB & NI Team a fitting send off to Beijing.”
The meet last took place over two days back in 1985 when Zola Budd and Mary Decker came face to face for the first time since their infamous clash at the Los Angeles Olympics the previous year.
In 2007 spectators witnessed victories by American sprinters Tyson Gay and Jeremy Wariner, middle distance star Bernard Lagat, and shot putter Reese Hoffa who all went on to win gold at the World Championships in Osaka alongside Jamaica’s Veronica Campbell and Yelena Isinbayeva, Russia’s pole vault sensation.
Today’s announcement completes the UK Athletics calendar for 2008:
Norwich Union International – Kelvin Hall, Glasgow –26 January
Norwich Union World Trials – EIS, Sheffield – 9 & 10 February
Norwich Union Grand Prix – NIA, Birmingham –16 February
Norwich Union Trials & UK Championships (selection meeting for the Olympic Games) – Birmingham Alexander Stadium – 11, 12 & 13 July
Norwich Union London Grand Prix - Crystal Palace –25 & 26 July
Norwich Union British Grand Prix – Gateshead International Stadium –31 August
Tickets for the indoor events are available now at Major Events or by phone on 08000 556056.