West Midlands athletic greats have called on the public to "back it or lose it" when the Olympic qualifiers return to Birmingham for the first time in five years.
The Norwich Union National Championships are back at Birmingham's Alexander Stadium after being staged in Manchester, and will double-up as the selection meeting for the Beijing Olympic Games.
With a central location and larger capacity, Birmingham is hoping the return of the games since they were last staged in the city in 2003 will bolster its reputation as a major sporting stage in the lead up to London 2012.
But the region's sports stars said public support was vital if the showpiece track and field event was to become a permanent fixture at the end of its current three-year deal.
Birmingham-born middle distance runner Ian Stewart, who represented Scotland and won a bronze medal in the 5,000 metres in the 1972 Munich Olympics and gold in the 1970 Commonwealth Games, said: "Birmingham is a great city and has already produced some brilliant athletics this year with the Norwich Union Grand Prix in February.
"Having the trials back for the next three years offers the city and its public a great chance of seeing some outstanding athletics in the lead-up to 2012. But we need to ensure the public support the event to keep it in our city."
Birmingham has staged more World and European events than any other UK city. Olympic gold medallist Denise Lewis, from West Bromwich, said: "The West Midlands public have an amazing opportunity on their doorstep and, by showing their support, the prospect of keeping this great event here in
Birmingham in the lead-up to 2012 would be even more likely."
Ashia Hansen, Commonwealth and World Indoor gold medallist, added: "I've long been of the opinion that Birmingham is the rightful home of British athletics and therefore the logical home for the sport's national championships and trials.
"When they've been in Birmingham previously, the events have been great, with an electric atmosphere, so it's exciting that we can look forward to that again when the trials return in such an important year for everyone competing."
The city council said the championships were a further boost to Birmingham and the region's reputation but that was reliant on the public turning out.
Councillor Ray Hassall, cabinet member for leisure, sport and culture, said: "We are delighted that this event is back at its rightful home at the Birmingham Alexander Stadium.
"We know from recent experiences with our hosting of successful international events that many people in this city love athletics and I know that these fans are very excited to have this event back in Birmingham.
"However I'd also like to encourage local people who haven't been to an athletics championship before to come and support this event as it is a fantastic family day out and one which will be particularly exciting in this Olympic year."
You can get tickets for the Norwich Union National Championships at the Birmingham Alexander Stadium on July 11,12 and13 on 08000 556 056 or online at ukathletics.net/tickets