IPC chief salutes Dubai for ‘amazing’ World Para Athletics Championships - GulfToday

IPC chief salutes Dubai for ‘amazing’ World Para Athletics Championships


Andrew Parsons took over the reins of IPC from Philip Craven following his election at the 18th assembly of IPC in Abu Dhabi in 2017.

Andrew Parsons, President of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), has saluted the UAE leadership for their support of the Paralympic movement and hailed the efforts of the Organising Committee in hosting Dubai 2019 World Para Athletics Championships.

The Dubai 2019 Championships, which will come to a close on Friday after nine days of intense competition at the Dubai Club for People of Determination, are the biggest of the nine World Para Athletics Championships held since 1994 in terms of participation with more than 1,400 athletes from 122 countries taking part.

The Championships have also attracted a big media contingent, numbering in excess of 350, with more than 100 of them coming from Japan, who will be hosting next year’s Summer Paralympic Games from Aug. 25 to Sept. 6, as well as the next World Para Athletics Championships in 2021.

Speaking to the local media, Parsons said: “Dubai is a powerhouse when it comes to delivering Paralympic events. It has a long tradition of delivering events at the highest possible level and here is no different. The athletes are happy and the teams are happy. I was in Brazil for the first half of this Championship, watching on TV, and it was amazing.

“We know that the UAE committed to organise this Championship at a very short notice - only two years and to deliver a World Championship like this in two years is amazing. They are making it very difficult for the next ones. Our Japanese colleagues in Kobe [host of 2021 World Para Athletics Championships] will have to work really hard because Dubai have really raised the bar.”

Parsons, who took over the reins of IPC from Philip Craven following his election at the 18th assembly of IPC in Abu Dhabi in 2017, travelled to the UAE capital on his arrival here to meet and thank His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, for the UAE Government’s generous support and patronage of Paralympic sports, not just in the UAE and the region, but around the world.

“I went from Dubai to Abu Dhabi just to meet His Highness,” Parsons said. “The only thing I told him is, ‘Your Highness, thank you for the support the government is giving to Paralympic sport, not only in UAE because the way you are doing it, you are supporting the growth of the Paralympic movement in Asia and at a global level’. That was my brief message to His Highness.

“There is a lot of support from the UAE government and a lot of goodwill of the people here, the quality of people who have been working with us. At the end of the day, support from the government is fundamental and super important, but if you don’t have good people who can deliver, then it becomes difficult.

“Here you have very good people delivering at the highest level. So it is always good to be back here. And I was elected here in Abu Dhabi, so always a pleasure to be back here.”

Talking about the growth of the Paralympic movement, Parsons added: “The Paralympic movement is growing worldwide. We have more funding, we have national Paralympic committees with better programmes in place, we have better and younger athletes now. World records are being broken because we have better athletes now and the level of training they have in their own nations is getting better and better. This is a sign of the growth of the Paralympic movement worldwide.

“Dubai has been a reliable partner for us in this growth. The number of events you host here, the quality of the events and having the President of the Asian Paralympic Committee here and connecting the whole of Asia.

“So I am really satisfied with the World Championship here. Good level of organisation and of the services given to the athletes and teams, the level of accommodation and transport, services here at the venue… I couldn’t be happier.”

Meanwhile, three-time Paralympic medallist, Samwel Kimani defended his World title to give Kenya their first gold medal on the penultimate day of the Championship on Thursday.

“Dubai was a good preparation towards Tokyo. Now I’ll continue training to repeat the two gold medals that I got in Rio,” said a delighted Kimani, who completed the race with a time of 15:54.32 seconds.

The silver went to Russia’s Fedor Rudakov with a time of 15.46.74 seconds while Japan’s Kenya Karasawa showed he had the leg to clinch the bronze clocking 15:48.21 seconds.

Kimani had clinched a silver in the men’s 1500m T11 six days ago, and going one step further in his pet event was indeed special.

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