Annual paralympic world cup

2004-09-20 15:25
Athens - The greatest annual get-together for athletes with disabilities will be launched in Manchester next year, organisers announced on Monday on the sidelines of the Athens Paralympics.

The move aims at sustaining public interest in sports for the disabled during the four-year break of the Paralympic Games.

The first Paralympic World Cup will take place on May 14-15 in athletics, wheelchair basketball, track cycling and swimming.

"We want world class athletes," said Phil Craven, president of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).

"We're really excited about this event. It offers a perfect opportunity for the world's athletes to come together."

Competitions will unfold in finals-only format similar to Grand-Prix events. Just the four top national wheelchair basketball teams are to be invited.

In order to get an "action-packed" programme fitting in this two-day event organisers said they would have to trim down the number of categories reflecting varying types and degrees of disabilities.

In athletics, there are a total 193 such categories.

Organisers have secured financing for two more World Cups in Manchester, in 2006 and 2007, from British National Lottery as well as local and central government funds. Organisers disclosed neither the budget of next year's tournament nor the total number of athletes competing.

The BBC will be the event's host broadcaster.

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