Training begins in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park for 4,500 London 2017 volunteers
- Credit: James O Jenkins
With 4,500 volunteers set to play a role at this summer’s athletics championships at the London Stadium, training is vital.
And that’s exactly what’s happening at Loughborough University London’s campus in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park throughout June.
The runners, as they are known, are the equivalent of the famous Olympic and Paralympic gamesmakers and are set to become the face of July’s World Para Athletics Championship and the IAAF World Championships in August.
The first training session took place on Thursday and participants were joined by two very special guests – Lord Sebastian Coe, president of the IAAF, and Sir Philip Craven, president of the IPC.
Lord Coe said: “What they’re doing is absolutely integral to the success of the championships.
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“People still talk about the London  Games and yes, they know they were smooth, but what they really talk about is their experience in London.
“That, in large part, was predicated by the quality of the volunteers and it’s the difference between a good and a great sporting event.”
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Sir Philip added: “The runners here, they are the face of the games.
“They’re the people who interact with the athletes, with the spectators, with the media and they’re what makes it really tick.”
For Stratford resident Joshua Dadzie, the buzz of the area during London 2012 inspired him to apply for a role.
“I wanted to get involved, and I’ve been picked to be a medal bearer,” the 20-year-old student at the University of St Andrew’s said.
“I’m carrying the medals out for the winners. I’m really excited.”
One of those hoping to win such a medal is Jordan Howe, who competes in the 100m and 200m T35 category for athletes with cerebral palsy.
He competed in the London Paralympics aged just 16, reaching the final of the 100m.
“Athletes that are coming over here, they’re no walk in the park, they’re world class athletes,” he said.
“If you want to see a great summer of sport, athletics is the one.
“London will be massive, people are finding it hard to get tickets, and as an athlete, it’ll be one of the biggest moments again in London.”