October 22 - Britain's rising young discus star Lawrence Okoye has been named as the latest ambassador for London's bid to host the 2017 World Athletics Championships and also a member of the Athletes' Commission.
The 20-year-old Londoner, who is 6ft 6in tall and weighs 22 stone, shot to prominence in July when he threw 67.63 metres, a British record and an age-19 world record, just a few months after deciding to concentrate on athletics having previously been hailed as a future rugby star.
As the youngest member of the London bid team's Athlete Commission, Okoye will have the unique opportunity to influence London's bid for a Championships that, at age 25 in the summer of 2017, he will hope to be peaking at.
Okoye joins Olympic champions Denise Lewis, the Sydney 2000 heptathlon champion, and Jason Gardener, a member of the British 4x100 metres relay team that won the gold medals at Athens in 2004, who the chair and vice-chair of the Commission, which also includes international stars, Haile Gebrselassie from Ethiopia, Jesse Williams from the United States and Fabiana Murer from Brazil.
"As a Londoner I am very excited and passionate about the future of athletics in my home city and I leapt at the opportunity to help shape our bid for the 2017 IAAF World Championships," said Okoye, who was dubbed the "schoolboy Lomu" after scoring the winning try for his school in a cup final at Twickenham, the home of English rugby, last year.
"London has so much to offer in terms of tradition, fan support for the world's best athletes and a fantastic new Olympic Stadium.
"It would be a dream come true to be able to host and compete in the world championships in front of an incredible London crowd in 2017."
London is facing strong opposition to host the Championships from Doha, who have also signed up a host of big international names as ambassadors, including Jamaica's world and Olympic 200m champion Veronica Campbell-Brown.
"Lawrence is one of the UK's most exciting athletics prospects with remarkable talent and a very bright future ahead of him," said Ed Warner, the chairman of UK Athletics.
"To have him backing London 2017 is a great boost for us and the insight that he can provide as a young Londoner on the Athlete Commission will be hugely beneficial.
"We have built our bid around the ultimate athlete experience and the involvement of a potential star of 2017 like Lawrence, alongside the leadership of Denise Lewis, will further ensure that we fulfil that promise."
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