Around 600 Para-athletes from 63 countries will take part in the event at Dubai Club for People of Determination grounds.
Dubai is all set to host the first Para-sport event after almost a year with the 12th Fazza Athletics Championships – Dubai 2021 World Para Athletics Grand Prix getting underway from Feb.10-13, 2021, following cancellation or postponement of major events due to COVID-19 pandemic.
The championships, hosted under the patronage of Sheikh Mansoor Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Sports Council, will serve as the one of the seven qualifying Para Athletics events for Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games with over 600 Para-athletes from 63 countries confirmed for it.
This week, several top names including world champions will be back in their favourite hunting ground at the Dubai Club for People of Determination grounds. The event is also the biggest Para Athletics Championships to be hosted after the Dubai 2019 World Championships.
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Teams from Uzbekistan and Chile have arrived and have been training here for the last one month.
Thani Juma Berregad says we are happy to host the 2021 edition of the Fazza Championships.
While Uzbekistan are one of the largest contingents in the event with 39 players, the other biggest teams, including Kenya with 69 players and France with 41 para-athletes, have arrived here on Feb. 6.
India (39), Kazakhstan (38) and Russia (36) will also be hoping to secure some slots for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
Team Switzerland, who arrived on Sunday morning, are confident of a good event despite the COVID-19 scare. “We trust Dubai that they will host a successful event. The safety measures look great around the Stadium. We are just waiting for our players to compete in an international event after so long,” said the Swiss team coach Georg Pfarrwaller.
All precautionary measures have been put in place, including sanitization of the stadium and seating areas, PCR tests, hoardings and boards of safety measures inside the area etc.
The Local Organising Committee (LOC) were well aware of the challenges but they said they are ready to host another fruitful Championships after the Dubai 2019 Worlds.
Thani Juma Berregad, Chairman of the Championships said: “After a difficult last year, we are happy to host the 2021 edition of the Fazza Championships. The event is also a testament that Dubai is ready to host successful competitions and welcome athletes from all over the world.
“The health and safety of the visiting teams are our priority and Dubai has always taken precautionary measures. This time also we are following all the measures and happy to see the numbers of teams coming here. I wish them luck in the Championships.”Majid Al Usaimi, Director of the Championships added: “This championships is very special to me. And this year it has come with some challenges. This year’s event will enter the history of UAE and the Dubai Club as this will open the Parasport season following a year of no competition due to the pandemic. And we are ready for the challenge.”
Organised by the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Centre (HHC), the Fazza Championship for Freediving is a heritage sport designed to embody the traditional ways of diving in the UAE and the Arabian Gulf.
Focused and on target, UAE national Amna Khalifa Al Ketbi won the Women’s finals while Emirati teen Fatima Khaled Al Minhali grabbed the Juniors category trophy.
Five-time Paralympic medallist Mohamed Al Hammadi will lead the local challenge and compete in men’s 400m and 800m T34 wheelchair races, hoping to analyse his form in an important year which has the World Championships in July and Asian Para Games in October.
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