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London may retain World Para Athletics Championships

Organisers of this year’s World Para Athletics Championships in London have said that the English capital is keen to retain the multi-sport event for its 2019 edition.

The 2017 event has sold more tickets than the previous eight editions combined, with the overall visitor number set to amount to more than 230,000 people. In comparison, just 15,000 tickets were sold for the 2015 championships in Doha, Qatar.

According to the BBC, if these figures are accurate, London 2017 will be the best-attended Championships outside of the Paralympic Games.

Ed Warner, co-chair of the London 2017 local organising committee, which is also responsible for city’s hosting of the 2017 International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships, said that following the success of the event, he intends to hold talks with the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) over a possible return in 2019.

“I’d love it back here in two years’ time,” Warner said, according to the BBC.

“We've had huge audiences by the standards of these championships.

“This call from the athletes for it to return here has come organically. Athletes from around the world think this is the place to be.

“I’ve had some interesting early conversations. I think the door is ajar. The IPC have loved what they’ve seen.”

This year’s World Para Athletics Championships have been taking place at the London Stadium, the main venue for the London 2012 summer Olympic and Paralympic Games. The 56,000-capacity facility will also stage this summer’s IAAF World Championships

Warner added: “There are usually tiny audiences and for the first time we’ve had serious crowds. It should be back in this stadium – it’s built for athletics. I've seen a lot around the world and this is the best by far.”

Sir Philip Craven, outgoing president of the IPC, has said that it is possible for the event to return to London in 2019, but ruled out the English capital serving as the permanent home of the championships.

Craven told the Evening Standard newspaper: “Let’s clear this up – it won’t ever happen that London is the permanent home. Looking at the Rio 2016 Paralympics, that was televised in 155 different countries and it’s more important than ever that we take this all over the world.

“But I think that London is a possibility (as 2019 host) dependent on a bid being put to us. No decision has been made yet and you can see what a great time everyone has had here. We’d obviously love to come back.”

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