With two weeks to go until the 2016 IPC Athletics European Championships in Grosseto, Italy, IPC Athletics has confirmed they will be the biggest ever with more than 600 athletes from up to 37 countries taking part.
Between 10 and 16 June, athletes will compete in 171 medal events in what is the last major international gathering of European athletes ahead of September’s Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
Star names set to compete in Grosseto to defend their European titles include Germany’s Markus Rehm, Great Britain’s Aled Davies, Russia’s Margarita Goncharova and home favourite Martina Caironi.
The 600 athletes who will compete exceed the number who competed in this event two years ago. At Swansea 2014 560 athletes from 37 countries took part. Russia, who topped the medals table two years ago, will have 100 athletes in Grosseto making them the biggest team.
Ryan Montgomery, the IPC’s Director of Summer Sports, said: “I would like to thank the participating countries for making Grosseto 2016 the biggest European Championships to date. This will be the fifth edition of this event and I am delighted that it continues to grow in size and stature.
“With Rio 2016 fast approaching, this is a vital event not just for athletes to qualify for September’s Paralympics but also to see where their form is at midway through the season. I am sure the action will be electric.”
The first European Championships were held in Assen, the Netherlands in 2003, followed by Espoo, Finland two years later. After a seven-year absence, the European Championships returned in 2012 when the Dutch town of Stadskanaal hosted the event.
The week-long event will be held at the Carlo Zecchini Olympic Stadium, a venue that has staged an IPC Athletics Grand Prix for the last three years.
The participating countries so far are: Austria, Belgium, Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Moldova, Montenegro, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey.