"This is an historic moment for the Paralympic Movement. I am very glad and thankful to the Moroccan authorities that we will have the opportunity to organise this Para Games in Africa for the first time."
History will be made in Morocco in 2020 with confirmation that the country’s capital, Rabat, is to host the first African Para Games next January. The announcement comes after a protocol agreement was signed in the presence of International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President Andrew Parsons on Monday.
Around 1,200 athletes are expected to attend the continent’s main Para sport competition and compete across Africa’s seven most-practiced Para sports: athletics, blind football, goalball, powerlifting, sitting volleyball, taekwondo and wheelchair basketball.
Most of the events will act as qualifiers for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, set to be held between 25 August and 6 September.
Parsons said: “This is an historic moment for the Paralympic Movement. I am very glad and thankful to the Moroccan authorities that we will have the opportunity to organise this Para Games in Africa for the first time.
“African Para athletes will have a good chance to qualify for Tokyo 2020 and showcase their abilities to the wider audience.”
African Paralympic Committee President Leonel da Rocha Pinto added: “It is another important step for the recognition of sports for people with disabilities in the African continent. A dream becomes a reality.
“In October last year during a meeting of African Ministers of Sports, Education and Youth organised by the African Union in Algiers, the African Paralympic Committee was recognised as the legitimate umbrella body for all matters related to Sports for Persons with a Disability.
“The meeting also endorsed the African Para Games as an official qualification multi-sport event for African Para athletes every four years in the lead up to the Paralympic Games.
“I am very grateful that the Royal Kingdom of Morocco and the Moroccan Sports Minister will give our African athletes the platform to showcase their excellence.”
Hamid Al Aouni, President of NPC Morocco, said: “I am very glad and honoured that my home city of Rabat will host the first edition of the African Para Games.
“We do have fantastic sports facilities here in Rabat; well-prepared and experienced experts that will organise the Games; the government and partners who will support; and society that love all type of sports.”
Athlete classification evaluation, anti-doping educational courses and a Proud Paralympian workshop will be held in the lead-up to and during the African Para Games.