Competitions have officially begun today at the 2009 BT Paralympic World Cup in Manchester, Great Britain.
A total of over 400 athletes from 40 countries around the world will compete for 357 medals from 20-25 May at three world-class venues in Manchester including the Regional Arena. Other venues include the Manchester Velodrome and the Manchester Aquatics Centre.
The four Paralympic sports are Athletics, Cycling (Track), Swimming and Wheelchair Basketball. The World Cup is already underway with Wheelchair Basketball filling the schedule on the first day. The first competition (Women's) is between previous Paralympic Games host country China against The Netherlands. Other teams competing are Mexico, Great Britain, Germany, Australia and USA. The Men and Women’s Finals will take place on 23 May.
Cycling events will take place from 20-22 May at the Velodrome, with a time trial of over 1,000m. The Pursuit event will cover 3,000m or 4,000m, with athletes usually competing in pairs. Swimming events will be just after Track Cycling, from 24-25 May. A total of five different events will be happening at the BT Paralympic World Cup including Individual Medley, Butterfly, Backstroke, Freestyle and Breaststroke.
BBC TWO will also broadcast the Swimming competition on 25 May live from the Manchester Aquatics Centre. Steve Cram will present the coverage, giving the public a chance to watch the action at home.
One of the most established and popular sports associated with the Paralympic Games, Athletics, will take place on 24 May. Events will include 100m, 200m, 800m, 1,500m, Long Jump, High Jump, Discus and Shot put.
The BT Paralympic World Cup was created to provide an annual world class multi-sport event for elite international athletes with a disability, bridging the gap between the four yearly Paralympic Games.
The event has grown in both size and stature incorporating extended programmes in Track Cycling and Swimming, and the attendance of international athletes was at it’s highest in 2008. With over 270 medals won at the Beijing 2008 Paralympics by BT Paralympic World Cup athletes, the event is now firmly established on the international calendar as providing world class competition and a platform for athletes to showcase Paralympic Sport in one of the biggest multi-sport competition outside the Paralympic Games.
The Paralympic World Cup is sanctioned by the IPC, the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IWBF) and the International Cycling Union (UCI), and supported by the British Paralympic Association, BT, UK Sport, Manchester City Council and the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA). The BBC has again committed to cover the event as they continue to showcase sport for persons with a disability ahead of the Paralympics.