London 2012 Olympics: Let the Games begin again: Paralympics aims for sell-out
THE Paralympic Games look set to benefit from Britain’s “insatiable hunger” for sporting success on the back of the Olympics, with organisers hoping for the first sell-out in the event’s history.
More than 2.1 million tickets out of 2.5m released have been bought, surpassing the previous record of 1.8m sold in Beijing four years ago.
About 600,000 tickets have been sold in the past month alone and, with just over a fortnight until the Games begin, organisers say awareness of the event is at a record high.
London mayor Boris Johnson said the success of London 2012 had led to “massive demand” for tickets for the 16th Paralympics, and he vowed to ensure extra tickets were made available to cope with the demand.
Meanwhile, the team behind the Olympics yesterday hailed the country’s “spirit of generosity” throughout the fortnight-long spectacle, and revealed that London was already enjoying a economic boost.
The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) believes the unprecedented surge in sporting interest can allow the Paralympic Games to attract a capacity crowd for the first time its 52-year history.
Already, events for athletics, cycling and tennis have nearly sold out, in stark constrast to previous Games, when organisers were forced to give large swathes of seats away for free.
The IPC president, Sir Philip Craven, said: “Our aim now is to sell every single ticket. It would be fitting that when the Paralympic movement returns to its spiritual birthplace in three weeks’ time, it does so in front of packed, sold-out venues.”
Craig Spence, the committee’s head of media, said traffic to the organisation’s website had increased by 200 per cent during the Games and it had amassed 4,000 new followers on Twitter.
He said: “We’ve already beaten Beijing by 300,000 seats, which is a phenomenal achievement and shows the insatiable hunger in Britain for elite sport.”
Amid the heightening interest surrounding the Games, which take place between 29 August and 9 September, Mr Johnson said the event would allow them to “share in the excitement” of London 2012.
Speaking at a press conference to reflect on the Olympics, he hailed the “massive demand” for tickets and urged people not to delay if they wished to attend an event at the Paralympics, which will welcome 4,200 athletes from 165 nations.
“The best way to make sure you have a chance to get to that park, share in the excitement of London 2012, is to get on the website when those Paralympic Games tickets become available,” he said.
“If demand exceeds supply, we will make sure there are Paralympic Park tickets available as well.”
Echoing his sentiments, Lord Coe, chairman of Locog, said his job was only 50 per cent complete and the vast team behind the Olympics was now working to ensure the Paralympics proved just as popular.
He hailed the “spirit of generosity” seen throughout the nation, and praised the tens of thousands of volunteers for their “boundless enthusiasm, goodwill and humour”.
However, he added: “We are only halfway through, our focus now is on the transition to the Paralympics.”
Meanwhile, Mr Johnson expressed sadness and relief that the Olympics had drawn to a close.
“If you were to say to me that we have just held the greatest Games ever in Britain, I would say you are on the right track,” he said.
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Sunday 19 May 2013
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