Dubai to host the first ever IPC Athletics Asia-Oceania Championships in 2016‏

IPC Athletics, the international federation for para-athletics, has announced that Dubai, United Arab Emirates, will stage the first ever IPC Athletics Asia-Oceania Championships between 3-8 March 2016.

As part of IPC Athletics' strategy to provide more high level competition opportunities for para-athletes around the world, the Asia-Oceania Championships is expected to attract around 600 athletes from 45 countries.

To ensure maximum participation at the event and develop para-athletics, the Local Organising Committee (LOC) has promised a strong solidarity programme.

In March this year, Dubai hosted the opening IPC Athletics Grand Prix of the season attracting more than 500 athletes from 37 countries.

Ryan Montgomery, Head of IPC Athletics, said: "After successfully staging two IPC Athletics Grand Prix events since 2013, Dubai was the natural host for this event, and we look forward to working with the LOC over the coming years.

"Our aim at IPC Athletics is to develop a competition calendar that caters for the long term development of athletes and National Paralympic Committees in all regions around the world. Announcing this event is another step in the right direction continuing the advancements that have been made following London 2012.

"The Asian Para Games are underlining the breadth of talent there is in Asia, but it is equally important to provide high level competition opportunities for athletes in Oceania outside of the World Championships and Paralympic Games and this event achieves that objective.

"Looking further ahead, regular regional Championships in Africa, the Americas and Asia-Oceania are in development to sit alongside the strong competition calendar in Europe, ensuring the further development of the sport."

Majid Rashed, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Sports Club for the Disabled said "We are privileged and honoured to be hosting the inaugural IPC Athletics Asia-Oceania Championships. In the UAE and especially Dubai, we have a proud tradition of supporting and developing para-sports as shown last year with our hosting of the IPC Powerlifting World Championships, and over the last two years the IPC Athletics Grand Prix.

"Our aim is not only to provide high level competition for athletics but also to ensure the continual development of para-sport in the region and we are confident with these Championships we can continue to do so.

"We are looking forward to our friends from Asia and Oceania attending these Championships as a last major gathering from the region prior to the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games."

IPC Athletics will announce the dates and venues for the 2015 Grand Prix series in the coming weeks, having already announced that London, Great Britain, will stage the 2015 IPC Athletics Marathon World Championships on 26 April and Doha, Qatar, the 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships between 22-31 October.

In addition to the new Championships in 2016, Grosseto, Italy, will also stage the IPC Athletics European Championships between 10-16 June. Both events, as well as the 2016 Grand Prix series, will provide qualification opportunities for athletes wishing to compete at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.