By Tom Degun

Swansea University athletics trackMarch 22 - Swansea has been chosen to host the 2014 International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Athletics European Championships, it was announced today.

The event will take place at Swansea University (pictured top) from August 18 until 23 next year while it will mark the first time ever that the Championships have been staged in Britain.

Around 600 athletes from 40 countries are expected to descend on the Welsh city for the competition, with high profile athletes such as Britain's Paralympic 100 metre T44 champion Jonnie Peacock set to be in attendance.

The successful Welsh bid from Swansea University was based on a partnership approach involving the Welsh Government, the City and County of Swansea, Disability Sport Wales and British Athletics.

They were awarded the Championships ahead of sole rivals Italy.

"We are delighted and excited that Swansea will host some of the world's leading and emerging para-athletes when it hosts the 2014 European Championships," said IPC chief executive Xavier Gonzalez.

"This is another major event to add to the rapidly growing IPC Athletics calendar and will help build on the momentum of the London 2012 Paralympic Games, the most successful ever.

"After successfully hosting training camps for the Mexican and New Zealand Paralympic teams ahead of London 2012, we are confident that Swansea can host a hugely successful European Championships as well in 2014."
Jonnie Peacock 2Britain’s Jonnie Peacock, who won gold in the 100 metres T44 final at London 2012, is set to be one of the star attractions at the 2014 IPC Athletics European Championships

The event will be another boost to disability athletics in Britain following the huge success of the London 2012 Paralympics athletics competition, which saw an unprecedented 1,185,976 tickets sold and capacity 80,000 crowds in attendance for almost every session.

Following the conclusion of the Paralympics, it has been confirmed that Birmingham will host the finals of the new IPC Diamond League-style athletics series this summer before a special one-day Paralympic Grand Prix takes place at the Olympic Stadium in Stratford on July 28 as part of the British Athletics London Anniversary Games.

In addition, the first ever IPC Athletics Marathon World Cup will take place next month on April 21 as part of the Virgin London Marathon.

Looking ahead, London will also host the IPC World Athletics Championships in 2017, with Lyon in France set to stage the event in July this year and Doha in Qatar to host the 2015 edition of the competition.

"Athletes want to compete in major events and this European Championships will give some of this continent's best and emerging athletes the opportunity to sample high level competition," said Ed Warner, chairman of both the IPC Athletics Sport Technical Committee and British Athletics.

"At IPC Athletics we are capitalising on the success of London 2012 by building a strong pathway of events through to the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games and beyond.

"We now have World Championships in place through to 2017, a number of Grand Prix organised for 2013 and the first IPC Athletics Marathon World Cup set for this April in London.

"Swansea 2014 joins this growing list of events and we are optimistic that we will be able to announce the host city of the 2016 European Championships in the near future."

Disability Sport Wales executive director Jon Morgan has also welcomed the announcement.

"Disability Sport Wales believes that Wales and Swansea is the perfect stage to host international events with high quality facilities to ensure that athletes can deliver their very best possible performances," said Morgan.

"Hosting this Championships will build on the phenomenal achievements of Welsh athletes at London 2012, as well as driving forward our legacy agenda and national programmes that we have developed over the past 10 years."

The last European Championships were held last summer in Stadskanaal in the Netherlands and featured 520 athletes form 38 countries where Russia topped the medals table.

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