2016 Muller Anniversary Games - The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London

July 25, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Hello sports fans,

On Friday and Saturday, I was photographing 2016 Muller Anniversary Games at The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Park, London. This was the 4th Anniversary of the Opening Ceremony for London 2012. This unique event in the global athletics calendar is the London leg of the IAAF Diamond League Series with the inclusion of the IPC (International Paralympic Committee) Grand Prix final. There were in action over 50 reigning Olympic, Paralympic and World medallists as part of their final preparations for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio-de-Janerio. Many of our British athletes were out to test themselves on home turf. 

The last time I was in this stadium was for the Opening Ceremony for the London Paralympic Games in 2012. Not much has changed apart from a pedestrian barrier that is now in place around the stadium entrances. The Queen Elizabeth Park is a beautiful setting for the Stadium and surrounding sporting facilities. The local residents are very privileged to have this on their door-step. 

The two days of competition commenced on Friday evening followed by a full day on Saturday. I arrived nice and early on Friday, a good 4 hours before any events started. After going through the usual security checks, I collected my accreditation and headed for the photographers room. With such a large event the photographers are separated from the written media. I signed in with the media team and collected my bib for the day. After setting up my laptop we all received a briefing from the UK Athletics media team about what will happen and then we were out on a guided tour of the photographer locations and learn where we can and cannot go. As with most events these day, live TV gets priority and we are considered second to their needs (With them paying for the privilege, I understand). However, still images last for ever and are always used in written media. On the Friday evening, I was able to move around and capture a number of athletic disciplines from track and field (Women's 100m Hurdles, Men's Triple Jump, Men's 100m, Men's Javelin). The highlight of the night for me was photographing Usain Bolt in the 200m. He is a six-time Olympic Champion, 11-time World Champion and reigning 100m and 200m World and Olympic Champion. He ran in 19.89seconds to win and still looked relaxed as he slowed down to the finish. Looking forward to see him in Rio.

On Saturday, the programme was busy and again I arrived nice and early so I can set up and take some general views of the stadium before preparing to shoot the competition. Today attracted new faces in the photographers room and as I was there the day before, I did not need to do the guided tour. This day saw the Paralympic Sports kick off the day and I was very fortunate to capture a World Record in the 200m - T42 by our very own Richard Whitehead in 23.03seconds. Today I positioned myself at the end of the finish straight looking down the centre of lane 5 so I had a great spot to see athletes running to the finish. Staying in one location enabled my to downloaded the race images after each one to my laptop and edit, caption and upload to the news wire. Usually within 3 minutes of releasing the shutter, my images were on the news wire. The day provided many great spectacles and the one we all waited for was to see Mo Farah run in the 5,000metres. Mo is in great shape and showed this at the previous Diamond League events and is in top form for Rio. For the majority of the race he kept up with the leaders just biding his time and then with a few laps left he started to pull away from all the competitors. The supporters were incredibly loud as they cheered him on and on. As he crossed the finish line he was at least 100m ahead of his nearest competitor. A great end to the day.

After the event was over, I moved back to the Photographers Room where I looked through my images and forward any additional images taken as the day progressed. On the whole a great couple of days to photograph amazing athletes and I wish all of them well for the future and for those going to Rio - come on Team GB.

You can view a selection of my images on the Action Plus Sports Images website - Friday 22nd July 2016 and Saturday 23rd July 2016. You can also view the gallery of images from the two days on this website.

A bit of fun from Mo as he enters the Stadium for a welcome by all the supporters...


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