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Sunday 21 September 2014

Six new competitions for the Paralympics

Matt McGeehan

Published 28/01/2013 | 11:43

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SIX International Paralympic Committee Athletics Grand Prix events will be staged in 2013, the IPC has announced.

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IPC Athletics is eager to build on the success of the London 2012 Paralympics, where 80,000 people roared the likes of wheelchair racer David Weir and amputee sprinter Jonnie Peacock to gold, and the new series will go some way to satisfying the athletes' desire for more competition.

The events will start in Dubai in March, before competitions in Beijing, China, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Grosseto, Italy, Arizona, United States and Berlin, Germany.

Ed Warner, chairman of the IPC Athletics sport technical committee and also chairman of British Athletics, said: "This announcement is a direct legacy of London 2012 where the sport's profile was raised to astronomical levels.

"Over 1.1 million tickets were sold for the Olympic Stadium whilst many global broadcasters pulled in record audiences for track and field events.

"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."

Double London 2012 champion wheelchair racer Hannah Cockcroft said: "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."

The 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships will take place in Lyon, France in July, the 2015 event will be staged in Doha, Qatar, and the 2017 event in London's Olympic Stadium.

IPC Athletics also confirmed that two cities have already submitted bids to stage the 2014 European Championship.

"Athletes now have a clear pathway of major international and regional events between now and Rio 2016 and beyond," Warner added.

"These are great developments for the sport and we expect to make further announcements during the year."

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