A new multi-sport event is commencing in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, bringing together 10 Para-sports for their first-ever European championships. The European Para Championships (EPC) will not only determine the continent’s champions but also offer qualification opportunities for next year’s Paris Paralympics in some sports.
The 10 sports featured in the event are Para-archery, Para-badminton, boccia, Para-cycling, goalball, Para-judo, Para-shooting, Para-taekwondo, wheelchair basketball, and wheelchair tennis. By combining these sports into a single event, the organizers aim to maximize attention and generate more public interest between August 8 and 20.
The concept was inspired by the European Championships that began in Glasgow in 2018. The main venue for the EPC is the Ahoy Centre, Rotterdam’s premier indoor arena, which previously hosted the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest. Several sports events will also take place in prominent city center locations to garner even more attention.
Creating the event was no easy task, as the organizers had to convince international federations, the European Paralympic Committee, and the national government to support the idea. While not all approached sports chose to participate, enough bought into the concept to make it a reality. Financing the event was another challenge, involving negotiations with the Dutch government and securing private funding from sponsors like T-Mobile Netherlands.
Looking ahead, the plan is to hold the EPC again in four years, at a different venue. The organizers hope to put on a successful show, and sports federations have signed long-term contracts, but they retain the option to step away after Rotterdam.
The Great Britain wheelchair basketball team is one of the key participants, aiming to secure their place at the Paralympics through a strong performance in the European final in Rotterdam. The event provides an excellent opportunity for sports that often struggle to gain publicity, and the hope is that it will continue to grow and have a positive impact on Para-sports in Europe.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Para-sports championships
What is the European Para Championships?
The European Para Championships is a new multi-sport event held in Rotterdam, Netherlands, featuring 10 Para-sports competing together for the first time.
What sports are included in the event?
The sports featured in the European Para Championships are Para-archery, Para-badminton, boccia, Para-cycling, goalball, Para-judo, Para-shooting, Para-taekwondo, wheelchair basketball, and wheelchair tennis.
What is the purpose of the event?
The event aims to bring attention to Para-sports and determine champions of the continent. It also offers qualification spots for the Paris Paralympics in some sports.
How is the event financed?
The organizers worked with a budget of about 30m euros, with half of it funded by the Dutch government and other public sources. The other half is covered by private funding, including sponsorship from T-Mobile Netherlands.
Will the European Para Championships be a recurring event?
Yes, the plan is for the EPC to return every four years, possibly in different host cities, and sports federations have signed long-term contracts.
What are the dates of the event?
The European Para Championships will take place between August 8 and 20.
Which venue will host the main events?
The main venue for the event is the Ahoy Centre, Rotterdam’s premier indoor arena, which previously hosted the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest.
How will the event benefit Para-sports?
The event offers greater visibility and publicity to Para-sports that often struggle to gain attention, providing an excellent opportunity for athletes to showcase their talents.
How can Para-archery benefit from this event?
Para-archery, one of the sports featured in the event, sees it as a chance to gain more exposure and attract attention from the media, helping to promote the sport.
Is there an admission fee to attend the event?
Yes, a small fee will be charged for entry to the event to show its value, and the funds will contribute to the overall experience for the athletes and visitors.
Can sports federations opt-out after the first event?
Yes, the sports federations have the option to step away after the first event if they choose not to participate in future European Para Championships.