Event looks to build on impact of London 2012 Paralympics when it is held in the UK for the first time
Elite level disability sport is to return to the UK in 2014 as Swansea has been successful in its bid to stage the International Paralympic Committee European Athletics Championships.
London played host to one of the best and most-talked about Paralympic Games in history last summer and it is hoped that next year’s Championships can build on that momentum as the event is held in the UK for the first time.
The news, which follows the announcement that London is to host the IPC Athletics World Championships in 2017, has been welcomed by UK Athletics Paralympic head coach Paula Dunn, who described the event as a ‘springboard’ for British athletes to achieve further success on the global stage.
“We’ve seen first hand how competing on home soil can really give our athletes a boost,” said Dunn.
“Having watched how our home crowd can push us on to medal success, I am delighted that the 2014 IPC Championships will be staged by Swansea. It will be a key part of our athletes preparations for Rio 2016 and London 2017, and we would aim to use it as a springboard for even further success on the global stage.”
Swansea University, who submitted the successful bid, will physically host the majority of the 2014 Championships which is set to take place over five days in August.
The event, which has previously been held in Stadskanaal in the Netherlands, Espoo in Finland and Assen in the Netherlands, is expected to see up to 2000 athletes, officials and visitors from across Europe head to the Welsh city along with up to 5000 spectators.
Professor Richard B Davies, vice-chancellor at Swansea University, said: “We are pleased that the IPC has recognised that Swansea University, working with its partners, can deliver a high profile Championship event and acknowledges our commitment to disability sport.
“The IPC European Athletics Championships have never taken place in the UK before so we are proud that Swansea is leading the way in building on the momentum of the 2012 London Paralympic Games and raising the profile of disability sport across Wales and the UK.”
The British Paralympic Association congratulated Swansea on its successful bid, with Tim Hollingsworth, chief executive of the association, commenting: “This is fantastic news for disability sport in the UK. The London 2012 Paralympic Games demonstrated that the British public have a big appetite for disability sport and this event will provide them with a further excellent opportunity to see elite level disability sport.
“The success of the Swansea bid means our athletes will have the opportunity to compete at an elite level on home soil once again in 2014, and I am confident that this event will form a crucial part of their preparations for Rio in 2016. ”