The cathedral of Grosseto, Italy, the host city of the 2015 IPC Athletics European Championships. © • LOC Grosseto 2015
The 2016 IPC Athletics European Championships, the last major opportunity for athletes to qualify for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, will be held in Grosseto, Italy, from 10-16 June 2016.
Featuring more than 600 athletes from at least 36 countries, the competition will be held at the Carlo Zecchini Olympic Stadium, a top-rated venue that has staged several IPC Athletics Grand Prix meetings in the past.
The stadium features an eight lane MONDO track and has a capacity of 10,200 people. It has previously staged the 2001 European Athletics Junior Championships and the 2004 IAAF World Junior Athletics Championships.
The event is organised locally by a partnership between Federazione Italiana Sport Paralimpici e Sperimentali (FISPES), Federazione Italiana di Atletica Leggera (FIDAL), Atletica Grosseto Banca della Maremma and the Italian Paralympic Committee.
The city of Grosseto
Grosseto is the main city located at the heart of Maremma, a vast geographic Italian region extending from northern Latium to the southern coastal part of Tuscany. Its landscape, climate and high quality of life are worldwide renowned for their unique features.
Today, Grosseto is a remarkable provincial town, a wealthy and dynamic centre and a land of agriculture, industry and tourism. Like other rare examples in Italy, the “old city” is surrounded by well-preserved and intact walls which have been built from the XII century by Francis I Medici for defensive purposes. Moreover, the coastal beauties of the Grosseto province with the Giglio Island, the entire Tuscan Archipelago and the villages of Marina di Grosseto, Principina a Mare, Castiglione della Pescaia and Punta Ala are a prominent pure maritime heritage of the Italian peninsula.
The city of Grosseto has a high profile sporting tradition, consolidated by local clubs’ great achievements and top athletes known at the national level. It also offers cutting-edge sporting facilities.
History of the IPC Athletics European Championships
The 2014 IPC Athletics European Championships were the most spectacular yet and saw the largest gathering of para-athletes - 550 athletes from 37 countries - since the London 2012 Paralympic Games take place between 18-23 August.
Russia were the victors of the medals table with 88 podiums in total, including 41 gold. Ukraine were second with 43 medals and the hosts third with 52, having just been beaten to second place by one gold medal.
Seven world and seven European records were set at the Swansea University Athletics stadium, in a competition which placed legacy at the heart of its planning. Local schoolgirl Molly Hopkins became the face of the event when she travelled to Berlin, Germany, to train with Dutch world and Paralympic champion Marlou van Rhijn.
The 2012 IPC Athletics European Championships were third edition of the event, held from 24-27 June in Stadskannal, the Netherlands. The Championships were the last major international gathering of athletes before London 2012, attracting nearly 500 athletes from 40 countries.
Russia easily finished atop the medals table with 29 gold and 76 overall medals. Ukraine was second with 17 gold and 41 overall medals and Germany came third with 14 gold and 29 overall medals. Poland placed fifth, followed by Spain, Greece and host nation the Netherlands, respectively.
Overall, there were 14 world records broken at the Championships.
The second edition of the event from 21-28 August 2005 drew 1,247 participants from 35 different countries, including 12 nations from outside of Europe. Of those participants, 880 were athletes and 367 were team officials.
The large Opening Ceremony was attended by IPC President Sir Philip Craven and President of the Republic of Finland, Tarja Halonen, and YLE (the Finnish Broadcasting Company) televised two days of the event.
Throughout the competition, 12 world and 20 European records fell.
The first time the event was held, from 15-21 June 2003, the competition opened with a spectacular Opening Ceremony, in which parachutists, motorbike riders, music corps, dancers and a theatre group performed in front of nearly 3,000 spectators.
There were nearly 700 participants in the Championships, and 46 world and 29 European records were broken throughout the week.
France finished top of the medal table with 15 gold medals, but Germany had the most overall medals with 53.
Top performers included Belarus’ Tamara Sivakova, who set new world records in the shot put F12 and discus F12 whilst the Netherlands’ Marijke Mettes, set a new Pentathlon world record. The Netherlands’ Anette Roozen became her country’s first European champion by winning the 100m T42.
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