The two largest Para sport events prior to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games concluded with plenty of world record performances and successful COVID-19 protocols at both the Bydgoszcz 2021 European Para Athletics Championships and the Madeira 2020 European Para Swimming Open Championships.
Bydgoszcz, Poland hosted 670 athletes representing 44 nations from 1 to 5 June at the Zdzislaw Krzyszkowiak Stadium. It was the biggest single-Para sport event of the year before the Paralympics in August.
Following the rules and protocols established by World Para Athletics and the Local Organising Committee (LOC), a total of 5,842 tests (PCR and antigen) were conducted across 12 days.
No athlete or team member tested positive. There was only one positive case from an accredited person involved in the set-up of the venue for the competition and who had no contact with athletes or teams.
All accredited participants also had to be tested before travelling to Poland in accordance with the rules in place in the country. Local staff and athletes were also frequently tested prior to the European Championships.
Bydgoszcz 2021 saw 12 world records broken or equalled in five days, including a historic performance from Germany’s Markus Rehm in the men’s long jump T64 reaching 8.62m.
Madeira to host 2022 World Championships
Madeira, Portugal was home to the European Open Championships from 16 to 22 May with 370 athletes from 47 countries at the Penteada Pools Complex.
The competition was also open to participants from outside Europe and counted with Para swimmers from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Kazakhstan, Peru and South Korea.
A total of 2,451 antigen and PCR tests were carried out during the event. All attendees were submitted to a rapid antigen test on arrival and additional PCR testing though out the competition, at the hotel for the Euros. All participants also had to submit a negative PCR test prior to arrival in Madeira.
There were three positive cases – two athletes and one staff member. Following the protocols in place in accordance with regional health authorities, individuals who tested positive had to self-isolate in their hotel room and take another PCR test.
In case of a second positive result, the person had to self-isolate for 14 days and all those who were deemed to be in close contact with the individual in the previous 48 hours also had to isolate and be tested.
Thirteen new world records were set at Madeira 2020, six of them by Italian athletes. The country topped the European Open Championships medals tally with 34 gold, 26 silver and 20 bronze.
The Portuguese island will also host the World Para Swimming Championships next year, from 12 to 18 June 2022.
"World Para Athletics, World Para Swimming and the Local Organising Committees in Bydgoszcz and Madeira delivered great events with a strong and rigorous focus on COVID protocols, working together with local health authorities," Christian Holtz, World Para Sports Managing Director, said.
"We could not be happier with the results achieved in those championships, as they give us further assurance about the protocols that are being put in place by organisers to ensure the safe and secure delivery of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games,” Holtz added.
Complete results and more information about the European Championships can be found on the Bydgoszcz 2021 and Madeira 2020 microsites.