IPC Athletics Champs Help Raise Paralympic Profile

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The IPC European Athletic Championships were held at Swansea University in August, becoming the biggest para-sport event ever to be held in Wales.

The event consisted of 580 athletes from 49 countries competing, with high levels of participation that have never happened before. The competitions took place in the international sports village on the athletics track.

The event boasted athletes such as discus and shot put thrower Aled Davies, who has broken world records this year, and other household names such as wheelchair sprinter Hannah Cockroft and sprinter Jonnie Peacock.

The event took place over five days and saw seven world records and seven Europeon records broken.

Russia finished with the most medals with a total of 88, 41 of which were gold.

Ukraine won 17 gold medals and a total of 43 medals overall, while the hosts Great Britain finished third overall with 16 gold and a total of 52 medals.

The event was praised for being a top class sporting event, with its professional and great quality service bringing people from all over the world together and making the athletes feel very welcome.

Davies provided some extra entertainment for the joyous spectators by taking part in the ‘ice bucket challenge’ on the track, while IPC officials paid tribute to the games and the volunteers who made them possible.

Over the course of the five days a variety of competitions took place on the athletics track such as shot putt, 400m and javelin.

The stands were filled with spectators almost every day, cheering on the athletes.

Phillip Scrivers, an attendee of the event, said: “I’ve never been to an IPC event before. I can’t believe how courageous the athletes were, especially the blind long jumpers who were listening to their guides voices instructing the athletes on what to do.”

Patricia Babb, a Swansea champion volunteer at the event, said: “Thank you all for the best week of my life.”

Golwg360 reporter Alan Rhys Chivers said: “The championships at Swansea was a positive event on many levels. It showed para-athletics in a positive light, raising the profile of one of the lesser known sports.

“There was an opportunity also for Swansea to show it can hold major events, especially as Wales aims to host the Commonwealth games, of which para-athletics is a key part.”

Hara Georgatzi, a volunteer from Greece, thoroughly enjoyed seeing her friends and other athletes compete at the championships.

She said she felt the Greek athletes did her country proud.

The Swansea 2014 IPC European Athletic Championships were a big success; not only have they raised awareness of paralympic sport, but have also set the standard for the Rio 2016 games.

The event had an atmosphere and image of strength, power and pride.

It is hoped that events like this won’t just bring big crowds, but also encourage people of all abilities and backgrounds to incorporate sport into their daily lives.

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