Events to be held in Dubai, Beijing, Sao Paulo, Grosseto, Arizona and Berlin
A ‘trial’ six Grand Prix events are to be staged by IPC Athletics, the global governing body of para-athletics, in 2013 in the hope of continuing the legacy of London 2012.
The news follows the recent confirmation of the host cities for the next three World Championships and London’s staging of the first IPC Athletics Marathon World Cup this April.
Earlier this month a newspaper report claimed that an eight-meet series would start in April, with two events in Britain as well as meetings in Rio de Janeiro, Germany and the Netherlands. At the time the IPC stressed that any plans were in their infancy, and although only the six announced contracts have currently been confirmed the IPC state there may be further developments and there is speculation as to the end-of-season finale being held at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham on June 29.
With a six-event series now confirmed, Ed Warner, Chair of the IPC Athletics Sport Technical Committee, said: “This announcement is a direct legacy of London 2012 where the sport’s profile was raised to astronomical levels.
“To build on this success IPC Athletics is keen to create more high profile competition opportunities over the coming years.
“This year’s Grand Prix events are very much a trial and are designed to improve standards off the track first and then provide more competition opportunities for leading athletes later,” he continued.
“Should the trial be successful then we will look at how we can expand these events in 2014 and beyond.”
The six Grand Prix events will take place through the spring and summer, with an initial three-day meeting in Dubai, UAE, in March, before further meets in Beijing, China; Sao Paulo, Brazil; Grosseto Italy; Arizona, USA and Berlin, Germany.
Double Paralympic champion Hannah Cockroft (pictured above) welcomed the announcement, saying: “I think the fear after London 2012 for the athletes was that there was going to be a limited amount of motivation over the next four years.
“However, the Grand Prix events and the World Championships will give us plenty of chances to become the best in the world and keep the public interested in our training and achievements allowing us to retain an elite status.”
In other competition, this July will see Lyon, France host over 1,300 athletes from 90 countries for the 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships, whilst Doha, Qatar will stage the 2015 event.
London’s Olympic Stadium has been confirmed for July 2017, a month before the same venue plays host to the 2017 IAAF World Athletics Championships.
In addition IPC Athletics also confirmed that two cities have already submitted bids to stage the 2014 European Championship following the success of last June’s event in the Netherlands which attracted 500 athletes from 40 countries.
Full details of the IPC Athletics Grand Prix events can be found here.