London Paralympics beat Beijing ticket record

Organisers have sold a record 2.1 million tickets for the London 2012 Paralympics, beating the previous mark set at the 2008 edition in Beijing, officials said Thursday.

The popularity of the London Olympics has seen demand suddenly soar for the Paralympics, with more than 600,000 tickets bought in the last month for the event which runs from August 29 to September 9.

"To have sold the most ever tickets for a Paralympic Games three weeks before the Opening Ceremony is absolutely fantastic and shows the insatiable appetite the public has for top class elite sport," Philip Craven, president of the International Paralympic Committee, said in a statement.

Organisers now aim to sell all 2.5 million tickets, he said, adding that it would be "fitting that when the Paralympic Movement returns to its spiritual birthplace in three weeks time it does so in front of packed sold-out venues".

The forerunner of the Paralympics took place 64 years ago at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in southern England with 16 injured World War II veterans. The first Paralympics took place in Rome 12 years afterwards.

London 2012 boss Sebastian Coe said he was "absolutely delighted" with the response.

"The Olympic Games have shown us that the UK has taken the Games to their heart," he added.

Tickets for Paralympic events such as athletics and swimming have reportedly sold out.

Some 4,200 competitors will take part -- up from 3,951 in Beijing in 2008 -- and 16 nations will be making their Paralympic debut, including isolated North Korea and conflict-torn Democratic Republic of Congo.

Spectators exit Stratford Station in east London as they make their way to the Olympic Park on day seven of the London 2012 Olympic Games. Organisers have sold a record 2.1 million tickets for the London 2012 Paralympics, beating the previous mark set at the 2008 edition in Beijing.