The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has today (29 October) announced that Stadskanaal, in north eastern Netherlands will host the 2012 IPC Athletics European Championships in June.
Taking place between 24-27 June, the Championships will be the last major international event before the London 2012 Paralympic Games which open exactly two months after the conclusion of the Europeans.
Set to feature around 500 athletes from 40 countries, the event is likely to see many big name athletes using it as preparation for London 2012, whilst others will be looking to secure vital qualification times ahead of the 5 August deadline.
It will be the third major IPC sporting event to be held in the Netherlands in the last six years after it successfully staged the 2006 IPC Athletics World Championships in Assen and the 2010 IPC Swimming World Championships in Eindhoven.
Ed Warner, Chairperson of the IPC Athletics Sport Technical Committee, said: “We are delighted that such a prestigious sporting event in the IPC Athletics calendar will take place in the Netherlands next year.
“I expect the level of competition next year to be fierce. The big name athletes who take part will aim to send a warning to their rivals ahead of London 2012, while other will be going flat-out to ensure they meet those all important Paralympic qualification standards.”
Rita van Driel, Secretary General of NPC Netherlands and IPC Governing Board member, said: “This is a major coup for the Netherlands and underlines the country’s commitment and excellent track record in staging major Para-sport events.
“The Dutch Athletics Federation deserve a huge amount of credit for pulling this event off and I’d also like to thank the government for their continued support.
“For it to happen in Paralympic year and so close to London 2012 will also ensure that the level of competition is extremely high and ultra competitive.”
Bert Eilliert, Chairman of the Local Organizing Committee, said: “Stadskanaal is no stranger to staging major Para-sport events and we are already looking forward to welcoming some of the world’s top athletes to the town next year.
“We aim to provide all those who attend, whether they be athletes, officials or members of the media with excellent hospitality to continue the Netherlands’ proud tradition of hosting successful Para-sport events.”
In 2010 Stadskanaal staged the IWAS Athletics European Championships and last year the climax of the 2011 IWAS Athletics Series.
All athletes and officials attending the Europeans will be accommodated at Pagedal, a sports and leisure park situated close to the athletics stadium.
Further details regarding the 2012 IPC Athletics European Championships, including qualification criteria, will be announced shortly.