Paris ready to make history at Para Athletics World Championships

More than 1,300 athletes from 107 nations to compete in the first edition to be held in the Paralympic host city one year before the Games 07 Jul 2023
Fifteen athletes and officials pose for a photograph
French and international athletes joined a press conference on Friday to promote the Paris 23 Para Athletics World Championships
ⒸDidier-Echelard 36
By World Para Athletics

Paris will make history when the Para Athletics World Championships kicks off at the Charlety Stadium on Saturday (8 July). 

It is the first time the biggest single Para sport event on the planet takes place in the Paralympic host city one year before the Games. 

Over 1,300 athletes from 107 nations will be competing in 168 medals events in the French capital until 17 July.

Some of the stars of the World Championships joined a press conference on Friday morning to share their expectations for Paris 23. French athletes Arnaud Assoumani, Gloria Agblemagnon and Nantenin Keita were accompanied by Dutch sprinter Fleur Jong, Tunisian thrower Raoua Tlili, Japanese long-distance runner Kenya Karasawa and Swiss wheelchair racer, Catherine Debrunner, the winner of this year’s Laureus Awards.

The event also had the presence of Paul Fitzgerald, Head of World Para Athletics; 
Guislaine Westelynck, President of the French Para Sport Federation (Féderation Française Handisport); Marie-Amelie Le Fur, President of the French Paralympic Committee and three-time Paralympic champion; Pierre Rabadan, representative of the City of Paris; and Adrien Balduzzi, Director of the Paris 23 Local Organising Committee (LOC).

Nantenin Keita of France, Rio 2016 Paralympic champion and two-time world champion, said: “I am proud to be team captain because of the trust I received to have this role. But we also have great teammates, whether they are captains or not. I hope we will have a great time, not only because of sports but also because of the human aspect as sport is a human adventure. We love to welcome people in France and we look forward to having them back next year for the Paralympics.”

Japanese Paralympic medallist Kenya Karasawa said: “It is a big advantage for us that we can race in the city that will host the next Paralympics and I want to do my best to win a medal. Ahead of the Paris Paralympic Games next year, we can get an image of what next year’s Games will be like. I want people around the world to watch Para sports and become more interested.”

Tunisia’s six-time Paralympic champion and eight-time world champion Raoua Tlili said: “I am really proud to be here. There are a lot of Tunisians living in Paris, but also Moroccan, and other countries. I am here to represent Arab women. I am going to do my very best to be at the highest level in the World Championships and also in the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games. I want to change how people look at short stature persons.”

Catherine Debrunner, Tokyo 2020 Paralympic champion and Dubai 2019 world champion, said: “Paris is a very special city for me. I was here two months ago for the Laureus Awards. I did not expect to be nominated and I thought ‘is it really true?’ And then I came here, and I was the winner, so it was even more crazy. I also had the chance to meet Shelly-Ann Fraser-Price and Lionel Messi in the ceremony. I was the first Swiss woman to win it and I hope I can be a really good role model for young people. The same way I had [Swiss wheelchair racers] Marcel Hug and Manuela Schaer as role models when I started.”

Fleur Jong, the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic champion in the women’s long jump T64, said: “I won the European title, the Paralympic title and that was amazing. This one title missing and to have it here would be great. I’ve been preparing for this Worlds during the whole winter and hopefully will peak perform here. I am very excited, as Paris is a good place for me and I’ve always performed well here. It is also the country and the city of my friend and competitor Marie-Amelie Le Fur.”

Saturday will see the first qualification sessions in the morning and the Opening Ceremony in the afternoon with a concert of French artist Feder. The first finals are set to take place on Sunday morning (9 July).

Tickets to the Paris 23 World Championships are on sale on here

Complete schedule and results can be found here.