BONN, Germany — IPC Athletics, the global governing body of para-athletics, has today outlined plans to stage a number of high profile events that will give athletes greater opportunities to compete against the world's best whilst also developing a framework of excellence in competition management.
In addition to recent announcements confirming the host cities of the next three World Championships through to 2017 and London's staging of the first International Paralympic Committee Athletics Marathon World Cup this April, IPC Athletics plans to stage six Grand Prix events this spring and summer.
The events will start in March with a three day meeting in Dubai, UAE, before heading to Beijing, China; Sao Paulo, Brazil; Grosseto Italy; Mesa, Ariz.; and Berlin, Germany.
The aim of the Grand Prix are to provide high level international competition, while supporting local organizing committees and providing pillars of excellence to support development in areas such as classification, education, research and anti-doping.
"This announcement is a direct legacy of London 2012 where the sport's profile was raised to astronomical levels," said Ed Warner, chair of the IPC Athletics Sport Technical Committee. "Over 1.1 million tickets were sold for the Olympic Stadium whilst many global broadcasters pulled in record audiences for track and field events.
"To build on this success IPC Athletics is keen to create more high profile competition opportunities over the coming years.
"We now have World Championships in place for 2013, 2015 and 2017 and the first IPC Athletics Marathon World Cup taking place this April to coincide with the Virgin London Marathon.
"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.
"Should the trial be successful then we will look at how we can expand these events in 2014 and beyond."
IPC Athletics' announcement for a more comprehensive and competitive international calendar has been welcomed by a number of the world's leading athletes.
Hannah Cockcroft, Great Britain's 100m and 200m Paralympic and World Champion, said: "The announcement that athletes are going to be getting more world-class events in the coming years is a very welcome one!
"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 the world and keep the public interested in our training and achievements allowing us to retain an elite status".
World and regional Championships
After announcing earlier this month that Doha, Qatar will stage the 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships, IPC Athletics now has hosts in place for the next three World Championships through to 2017.
This July, Lyon, France will host over 1,300 athletes from 90 countries for the 2013 event, whilst 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 today 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.
"In addition to the Grand Prix events, the success of London 2012 has enabled us to confirm all our World Championships between now and 2017," Warner said. "Regional competitions are also falling into place too.
"In 2014 we will have the Asian Para Games in Korea as well as a European Championships. In 2015 we have the World Championships in Doha, the Parapan American Games will take place in Canada, whilst Congo stages the All African Games.
"Athletes now have a clear pathway of major international and regional events between now and Rio 2016 and beyond. These are great developments for the sport and we expect to make further announcements during the year."
Full details of the IPC Athletics Grand Prix events can be found at Paralympic.org/Athletics/Events/GrandPrix.
2013 IPC Athletics Event Calendar
5th FAZAA International Athletics Competition
Virgin London Marathon
Marathon World Cup
Loterias Caixa Brazilian Athletics Open Championships
Sao Paulo, Brazil
Campionati Italiani Assoluti
Desert Challenge Games
IPC Athletics World Championships