Team leaders from some of the biggest competing nations have expressed their delight at proposals and progress for the London 2017 World Para Athletics Championships after conducting a visit of venues, hotels and facilities to be used this summer.
The day (17 February) allowed team leaders to fully scope the organisation, visit their requested hotels and tour key venues, including the London Stadium at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, to ensure the needs of all competing athletes will be met.
Team leaders were shown around the training venue at Newham Leisure Centre as well as the throws warm up areas before an extensive tour of the facilities at the London Stadium, which will hold 16 sessions during the Championships.
Organisers also provided team leaders with information on transport, medical services and the Clean Athletics education programme before travelling to Frankfurt, Germany to present the key details at the World Para Athletics Sport Forum (18 February).
Niels de Vos, Championship Director for the London 2017 World Para Athletics Championships, said: “We are extremely excited to be hosting the world’s best Para athletes in less than five months’ time and this visit was a perfect chance for us to showcase London and the excellent facilities and services that we are proud to be offering.
“There was plenty of positive feedback on what we have planned for the World Para Athletics Championships from all nations involved. The World Para Athletics Sport Forum was another great opportunity for us to showcase our progress, which was again very well received. We cannot wait to welcome all athletes and staff for an amazing event this summer.”
Amanda Evans, Paralympic Performance Programme Manager at British Athletics, said: “As the home nation, we are really excited about the World Para Athletics Championships coming to London this summer. We received plenty of key information during the visit and it was brilliant to view the training venues, the throws warm up areas and the Stadium. It is great to see that preparations are going really well for the Championships.”
Andrew Faichney, Paralympic Programme Manager at Athletics Australia, said: “I was here for the London 2012 Paralympic Games and it was great to come back and see the plans for the World Para Athletics Championships. A number of our athletes are familiar with the precinct but it is always good to be updated and in particular stay in our team hotel, which we haven’t experienced before. The organisers are very well prepared as we expected to be this far out and no doubt we will have a successful Championships.”
Andy Heiniger, Head of Competitive Sports, Wheelchair Sports Switzerland, said: “It was great to come to London. I had a lot of questions and it was important to come and get them answered. I leave with a bag full of knowledge and will feedback to our athletes. We will have a small team of eight to nine athletes and the Championships is a big highlight of the year. It was important to sample our team hotel and rooms. I now have a good overview of what to expect in July.”
Ricardo Melo, Athletics Technical Coordinator at the Brazilian Paralympic Committee, said: “We had a great first impression of the Championships. The location of our hotel is very good and it allows our athletes to walk to the venue and also rest when they need. The warm up track is very close and will allow our athletes to get to the call room very quickly.
“We had a great Paralympic Games in Brazil last summer and we have great athletes. The athletes that competed at the London 2012 Paralympic Games are excited to come back to London but those who did not compete are even more excited. They all want to be in London.”
The World Para Athletics Championships run from 14-23 July at the London Stadium at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park with the IAAF World Championships following at the same venue from 4-13 August to mark the biggest sporting event of the year.
The biggest event to be staged at the London Stadium since the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games – it is the first time both Championships have been held in the same city with over 3,000 athletes from over 200 nations competing over 20 days of action.