Poland to host new Para athletics Grand Prix

Poland’s growing status as one of the powerhouses in Para athletics has taken a further step with the news that Bydgoszcz will host the penultimate Grand Prix of the 2019 Para athletics season in July.

Organisers, led by Polish Paralympic Committee and Polish Sports Association for the Disabled (‘START’) President Lukasz Szeliga and Event Director Marcel Jaroslawski, have signed a one-year agreement with World Para Athletics to host the three-day meeting from 19-21 July.

Poland topped the medals table at last year’s European Championships with 26 golds and the nation’s top Para athletes were also responsible for six out of the 15 world records that were broken in Berlin.

The East European country, well-known for hosting major athletics events, was added to the roster after organisers in Berlin, Germany, withdrew from the 2019 Grand Prix series due to the proposed refurbishment of their stadium.

The venue in Poland, the Zdzislaw Krzyszkowiak Stadium, has played host to numerous major international athletics events including the 2017 European Athletics U23 Championships and the 2016 IAAF World Junior Championships.

Haozhe Gao, Head of World Para Athletics, said: “World Para Athletics is delighted that Poland will join the Grand Prix series in such an exciting year that culminates in the 2019 World Championships in November.

“Expanding the Grand Prix series into new territories is great news for the sport and I have no doubt that the event in Poland will be a great success.”

LOC President Szeliga said: “Para athletics is the most significant sport in our association. We are delighted that we have received an offer from World Para Athletics to organize such a big event.

“It is a big challenge but we are extremely happy that our athletes will have the opportunity to compete on their home soil.”

Bydgoszcz joins the Grand Prix circuit which began in Dubai (UAE) in February.

A total of nine Grand Prix take place during the year, with meetings in Sao Paulo (Brazil), Beijing (China), Arizona (USA), Nottwil (Switzerland), Grosseto (Italy) and Tunis (Tunisia) taking place between April and June. The series concludes in Paris (France) at the end of August.