Christine Ohuruogu removing the final protective layer of soil from the finish line in London's Olympic Stadium (© British Athletics)
World 400m champion Christine Ohuruogu swept away the final protective layer of soil from the finish line in the Olympic Stadium at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on Monday (8), ahead of the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games on 24-25 July.
The IAAF Diamond League meeting, the 11th in this summer’s series, will be the final time the original London 2012 Olympic Games track is used before a new surface is laid ahead of the 2017 IAAF 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 Ohuruogu, who grew up in East London close to where the stadium was built, spoke of her excitement at returning to compete on the track where she won an Olympic silver medal to add to her gold from Beijing in 2008.
In addition to Ohuruogu, star names such as Great Britain’s Olympic champions Mo Farah, Jessica Ennis-Hill and Greg Rutherford are also scheduled to compete.
“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,” said Ohuruogu.
“To have the world's 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 Championships, Beijing 2015 and will provide an important yardstick for the world’s top athletes in their preparations for the championships.
“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,” added Ohuruogu.
“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.
2015 IAAF Diamond League calendar
Doha, QAT – 15 May
Shanghai, CHN – 17 May
Eugene, USA – 30 May
Rome, ITA – 4 June
Birmingham, GBR – 7 June
Oslo, NOR – 11 June
New York, USA – 13 June
Paris, FRA – 4 July
Lausanne, SUI – 9 July
Monaco, MON – 17 July
London, GBR – 24-25 July
Stockholm, SWE – 30 July
Zurich, SUI – 3 September
Brussels, BEL – 11 September