altSeptember 8 - International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President Sir Philip Craven today formally invited the top disability athletes on the planet to the London 2012 Paralympic Games at a speech here at Trafalgar Square that rounded off International Paralympic Day just hours before tickets went on sale for the event.

London's iconic landmark has been celebrating the day from the early morning with a various demonstrations of Paralympic sport that attracted plenty of interest from members of the public.

There were also appearances from a number of high profile guests, including Prime Minister David Cameron, London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe and four-time Paralympic champion Oscar Pistorius for South Africa.

Tickets for the London 2012 Paralympics will go on sale at 9am tomorrow and Sir Philip promised something special will happen as he called on athletes to compete in the capital next year.

"In 356 days' time the Paralympic Games will head back to its spiritual home," the IPC President told the crowd gathered in the shadow of Lord Nelson's statue following a day which had included Cameron taking on London Mayor Boris Johnson at tennis.

alt"Something that Dr Ludwig Guttmann started in 1948 on a patch of grass at the back of Stoke Mandeville Hospital will return as one of the world's biggest multi-sport events.

"The foundations for what could be the best Paralympic Games ever have been laid here in London.

"Most of the venues are ready, we're expecting more media and TV coverage than ever before, and the demand for tickets which go on-sale tomorrow is unprecedented.

"All we need now are the 4,200 athletes from 150 countries to take part.

"Our symbol, the Agitos, represents our role in bringing together athletes from all over the world through the Movement.

"That is why I would like to invite athletes and National Paralympic Committees to come here to London next year to make history."

In the UK and within the European Union, people can apply for tickets between 9am tomorrow and 6pm on September 26.

Approximately two million tickets will go on sale to the public between now and Games-time, with 1.5 million being available in the first phase.

"Something special is going to happen at the London 2012 Paralympic Games."

As with the controversial Olympic Games tickets, the system is not first come first served and there is no advantage to applying earlier in the process to try to see athletes like Pistorius and Ellie Simmonds in action.

altApplicants also need to use a Visa card.

Tickets for oversubscribed sessions will be allocated via a ballot.

Payment is due to be taken on October 31 with notification of whether applications have been successful sent by November 18.

For applicants outside of the UK, a full list of Authorised Ticket Resellers is available on the London 2012 ticketing website.

There will be over 300 sessions across the 20 Paralympic sports at 20 venues, including those within the Olympic Park, plus ExCeL, Greenwich Park, The Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich, North Greenwich Arena, The Mall and, outside London, Brands Hatch, Eton Dorney and Weymouth and Portland.

"We're going to put on a show that will captivate billions, inspire millions and show the world that anything is possible," said Sir Philip.

"And I want you to be part of it.

"London 2012 will be 'Sport Like Never Before' showcasing the talents of some incredible athletes taking part in 20 amazing sports.

"The action will be intense, the competition close, but ultimately what you will witness will alter perceptions and lead to societal change.

"Athletes are the heart of the Paralympic Movement.

"They are critical to the success of the Games.

"Without you we cannot put on the Games, with you we can ensure that the London 2012 Paralympic Games are possibly the best ever."

Ticket prices were announced earlier this year with a wide range of prices and ticket initiatives on offer.

Prices start at £10 for adults and £5 for those who are 16 or under and 60 or over on 29 August 2012.·

Tickets for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies will start at £20.12 with a top end price of £500 for the Opening Ceremony.

A Games Travelcard, for use on the day of the event on public transport in zones 1-9 in London and for travel between London and Eton Dorney and Brands Hatch, is included within the price of a ticket.

alt"The Paralympic Games are coming home in 2012 and I'm confident that the whole country will get behind them," said Coe.

"Alongside the Games come a whole range of opportunities.

"People will have the chance to see sport like never before, with world class athletes who challenge the notion of 'disability'; it's a huge opportunity for Paralympic sport to become part of the nation's consciousness and finally, it will be a moment of extraordinary pride.

"A fitting end to what promises to be an amazing summer."


By Tom Degun at Trafalgar Square in London