Rotterdam is the host city of the first edition of the European Para Championships in 2023. This multi-sport event will take place in August of 2023. For the first time, the continental championships for several different para sports are all being clustered together in and around the same host city; Rotterdam.
The event dates are from Tuesday the 8th until Sunday the 20th of August 2023 and the event is aiming for 7 to 10 different sports including para-cycling, wheelchair tennis, boccia, goalball, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby, para table tennis, judo and shooting Para sport. All of the events that are part of the European Para Championships are also very relevant for the Road to Paris 2024.
The main venue for this event is the well-known Rotterdam Ahoy. For 50 years Rotterdam Ahoy has been the place where sports and entertainment come together. The venue is built to house leading sports and entertainment events and brings athletes and artists even closer to the fans. National, European and World Championships are being held here and this month it hosted the final of the Eurovision Song Contest.
Tamara van Ark (minister of Sports of the Netherlands) is very positive about this initiative. ‘In the Netherlands, we are striving to be a guiding country in sports and sporting events. With this Dutch initiative we’re showing the world that para sports are very important for us and we really think it helps to professionalize para sports in general’.
Raymon Blondel, President of the National Paralympic Committee of the Netherlands, is also proud to be the hosting country. ‘I think that para sports in Europe deserves an equivalent to events in Asia and Pan America. The European Games do not have a para edition and that’s why we are thrilled to co-operate with the European Paralympic Committee who gave us the possibility to work on a separate ‘European Para Games’.’
Sven de Langen, alderman of sport in the host city of Rotterdam, adds: ‘Rotterdam would like to be an inclusive city where diversity is a very important topic. We are happy that Rotterdam was chosen to welcome 1,500 athletes and, hopefully, a lot of spectators to this inaugural edition. I am sure it will be a celebration of para sports in general.’
Jiske Griffioen, wheelchair tennis player and Paralympic champion, is an enthusiastic ambassador of the event. ‘The event’s general theme is to ‘Enable your abilities’’, and everybody has a disability one way or another. We would like to show that we’re focusing on the things we can do and not on the things we cannot do. And I think this concept is a great example of this.’
‘We are discussing the possibilities with the different international federations whether it is possible to build (covered) outdoor centre courts in the city centre of Rotterdam to bring the different sports to the audiences there as well. We did this for the World Para Archery Championships in 2019 in ‘s-Hertogenbosch where we enjoyed full stands, and the feedback we had from athletes, public and press was great. That is what we are aiming for. Not only for 2023 but also for 2027 and 2031, when we would like to bring this event to another European capital", Eric Kersten (founder of event organizer Team TOC) adds.
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