There are just 50 days to go until January’s IPC Athletics World Championships in Christchurch, New Zealand, an event organizers believe will help propel Paralympic Sport in the country to a new level.
More than 1,000 athletes from 70 countries are set to gather in Christchurch for what will be the last major gathering of international athletes before the London 2012 Paralympic Games and Fiona Pickering, Chief Executive Officer of Paralympics New Zealand, cannot wait for the event to start.
“We’re sincerely looking forward to hosting the 2011 IPC Athletics World Championships,“ Pickering told www.paralympic.org, the International Paralympic Committee’s website.
“I think having the event in Christchurch will be an excellent springboard for Paralympic Sport in New Zealand. It will showcase what Paralympic Sport is all about and will certainly excite New Zealanders.
“It’s exciting that New Zealand is staging this event so close to London 2012. The athletes will be looking at putting in some incredible performances in Christchurch to prove a point ahead of the Games and we are very excited about seeing them compete against each other.”
A whole host of big name athletes are set to compete in Christchurch including South African ‘Blade Runner’ Oscar Pistorius, Irish Sprinter and ‘Fastest Paralympian” on Earth Jason Smyth and American Paralympic gold medalists Jessica Galli and April Holmes.
Fiona Pickering said: “There are obviously a lot of international names to look out for in Christchurch. Oscar Pistorius is clearly the stand-out name as he has gained a lot of media attention over the last two years.
“At the World Championships I think there will be a lot of aspirations to beat Oscar and that will make for a really good race. It would be a real showcase for the event. But there will be some other great races as well.
“In addition to the big international names there are a number of Kiwis to look out for. Kate Horan for example, took silver in the 200m T44 in Beijing and did exceptionally well so look out for her in January,” she added.
With more than 1,000 athletes set to take part in January’s event it will be the biggest IPC Athletics World Championships ever and the first time the event has been held in the southern hemisphere.
Fiona Pickering said: “In terms of participants it’s the biggest event that New Zealand has ever staged and it’s nice that the event will be held outside of Europe for the first time as well.
"Christchurch has a proven track record for hosting a wide array of successful events and with the support of Christchurch City, the people, and the infrastructure it has all the right ingredients for a World Class event.
“We’re hoping the crowds will turn out for this special event and have priced tickets at just $10 each to make it as affordable as possible.”