Monday 19 March 2018

Tickets priced at £9.58 for Usain Bolt's 'farewell' at London 2017 World Championships

Sprinter Usain Bolt of Jamaica on his way to striking gold during the London 2012 Olympic Games. REUTERS/Phil Noble
Sprinter Usain Bolt of Jamaica on his way to striking gold during the London 2012 Olympic Games. REUTERS/Phil Noble

Ben Rumsby

Ticket prices for next year’s athletics World Championships in London are to mirror Usain Bolt’s 100 metres world record after it was decided children could attend what is poised to be his swansong for just £9.58.

London 2017 organisers will on Tuesday announce the cost of tickets for the biggest event at the Olympic Stadium since London 2012, which will be geared towards getting as many youngsters as possible through the gates.

Ticket prices for each of the sessions at the World Championships will start at £9.58 for children, a figure that pays tribute to Bolt’s 100m record of 9.58 seconds.

There will also be other world-record themed prices for the event, for which 700,000 tickets will go on public sale via ballot between August 1 and August 22, either side of the Rio Olympics.

Bolt, for whom London 2017 is expected to be his farewell to athletics, said: “I always say that the children are the future and I commend the organisers of London 2017 on this initiative to give young people the chance to buy affordable tickets.

“I hope it will inspire many of them to get into athletics and look forward to seeing many young people filling seats next summer.”

Children will also be able to attend the World ParaAthletics Championships in July for as little as £5, with a total of 1.5 million tickets being made available across both events.

Adult prices start at £20 for the International Association of Athletics Federation showpiece between August 4-13 next year and £10 for the International Paralympic Committee event from July 14-23 .

More than 250,000 World Championships tickets will cost £35 or less – half under £50 – with any tickets left unsold from August’s ballot going on general sale from September.

The £9.58 tickets have echoes of London 2012 prices, where it cost between £20.12 and £2,012 to attend the opening ceremony and at which there was also a “pay your age” promotion for some events.

London 2017 organisers are hoping next year’s championships will herald a fresh start for a sport beset by doping and corruption scandals and plagued by empty seats during the recent editions of its blue-riband event.

Cherry Alexander, managing director at London 2017, said: “Our overall approach to ticketing across both championships had three priorities: we want to fill the venue with passionate crowds, we want prices to be accessible to the athletics family, all sports fans and new spectators; and we wanted the timetable to allow as many people as possible to attend the biggest sporting event since London 2012.”

IAAF president Sebastian Coe added: “2000 athletes from over 200 nations will gather next summer for the IAAF World Championships London 2017, which will be the biggest global championships of any sport next year.

“Today’s launch of tickets sales with an innovative timetable and accessible prices offers everyone a great opportunity to witness the world’s best athletes live in action.”

IPC chief executive Xavier Gonzalez said: “London 2017 has some of the most accessible prices ever seen at a World Championships and I am sure this will result in some great and hugely passionate support for the world’s best para-athletes.”

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