BT Paralympic World Cup - What does it mean to us in Wales?
24 May 2011
With great success already seen at the IPC (International Paralympic Committee) Senior and IWAS (International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation) Junior World Championships so far in 2011, all eyes are now on the BT Paralympic World Cup, which will be hosted in Manchester again this year, writes GERWYN OWEN of Disability Sport Wales.
The event was created to provide an annual World Class Multi Sport event for elite international athletes; bridging the gap between the four yearly Paralympic Games.
So why is the Paralympic World Cup so important to us in Wales?
There are limited opportunities outside of the Paralympic Games for our athletes to compete against their nearest rivals; many of which are Chinese, Australian or American. Having the best athletes in the world competing against our athletes on a regular basis will ensure our aim to push their performance levels higher, therefore reaching their ultimate goal - Paralympic Gold at London 2012.
Also, for us in Wales, it provides an opportunity to highlight Disability Sport to the mass population. This year, Channel 4 has come on board for the first time as the new host broadcaster. This is an exciting new dimension to the BT Paralympic World Cup and will provide the event with the strongest broadcast coverage it has ever received. Indeed, Channel 4 has taken coverage of Disability Sport to a new level since being awarded host broadcast rights for the London 2012 Paralympic Games, and programmes such as 'Inside Incredible Athletes' and 'That Paralympic Show' demonstrate imaginative, positive and provocative imagery of our athletes.
Welsh athletes have always been prominent in this event, whether it's David Roberts CBE in the pool, Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson's last ever competitive race in Athletics or double Paralympic Gold Medallist, Simon Richardson MBE in the Cycling Velodrome.
This year again sees a strong Welsh presence, with the three core sports of swimming, athletics and wheelchair basketball represented.
Eleven-time Paralympic Gold Medallist David Roberts CBE is joined in the pool by Beijing Paralympic Gold medallist, Liz Johnson. Over at the athletics stadium, recent IPC World Champion Nathan Stephens is joined by training partner and IPC World Championship silver medallist Aled-Sion Davies, Commonwealth Games silver medallist Jenny McLoughlin and IBSA (International Blind Sports Association) World Games athlete James Ball.
On the basketball court, experienced Paralympian Clare Strange will form part of the Women's Great Britain wheelchair basketball team and will be looking to avenge their fourth place finish last year as they compete against Canada, Germany and Japan.
Two exhibition events have been included this year, sitting volleyball and Boccia. We'll be looking to see how James Roberts pit his wits against the Netherlands in the Sitting Volleyball exhibition match.
You can follow our athletes and the rest of the goings-on in Manchester at http://www.btparalympicworldcup.com/home.php
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