The first-ever IPC Athletics World Championships hosted in the Middle East kickstarts today, 22 October 2015, with several of the world’s finest para-athletes in action at Qatar Sports Club.

The Doha 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships officially opened following a spectacular opening ceremony held at Katara Cultural Village on 21 October 2015 where the world’s most incredible para-athletes came together for a celebration of unity, diversity and achievement.

Opening ceremony at Katara
Opening ceremony at Katara

Doha is ready to witness the most incredible athletes in the world. 10 days of intense sporting competition starting today will see more than 1,300 athletes from 90 countries competing for world titles and coveted qualification spots to Rio 2016 Paralympics. It is a proud sporting moment for Qatar and is destined to tell tales of triumph over adversity that will inspire the entire community for generations.

 

Speaking on the eve of the championships Ameer al Mulla, CEO of the Organising Committee, said:

To see the best para-athletes in the world here in Doha will be an incredible experience for everyone.  We will witness the ultimate demonstration of human capacity and mental strength in any sporting arena. These are the biggest IPC Athletics World Championships in history with 20% more athletes and 39% more females competing than ever before. The action from Doha will be screened in over 30 countries worldwide, so there is so much to look forward to.’

The theme for these World Championships is ‘Beyond Incredible’, which I think is fitting as there will be incredible competition and incredible people with inspiring stories in action during this 10-day event. I urge local communities to come out to Qatar Sports Club and support their heroes; here will be something for all to see.’

During the preview press conference Qatar’s Abdulrahman Abdulqadir, an F34 athlete who set a shot put world record during the Doha 2015 test event said:

I am very proud for my country to be hosting this huge event and it will help to raise awareness of para sport in the Middle East. I hope to perform well here and do my country proud. I want to achieve my best here in Doha and win something for my home country. It will be amazing to win gold in front of my friends and family here. As a team we have had excellent preparation. I have been working very hard and this was reflected in my world record I made here in the test event. I urge all fans and local public to come down and support me and the Qatar team.’

While Germany’s Markus Rehm, the world’s best long jumper and the current Paralympic, world and European champion added:

The goal is to jump over 8m here and the conditions seem perfect to do this. My goal is to win gold here but the world record would be great, I am in good shape and my training is going very well, the conditions here in Doha are good so hopefully I will leave here with gold and a new personal best, which of course means a new world record. I don’t feel more pressure being on all the posters here at the world championships, and certainly don’t feel any more in the spot light. I am happy to show the world what we can achieve as para athletes and I always try to focus on my personal progression going into competition.’

Incredible stories

The IPC Athletics World Championships is held every two years, but the Doha edition will be the biggest yet. The para-athletes in action on Friday morning include Brazil’s queen of para-sport, Terezinha Guilhermina. Born blind, she has overcome a childhood of poverty and bullying, only to go on to be one of the best para-athletes in history. At the last World Championships in 2013, she won triple gold in the 100m, 200m and 400m T11 sprints – and on Friday morning at 9.30 am she will be embarking upon another incredible journey as she attempts to get herself to the semifinals through one of the first 400m qualifying heats. After a deserved day of rest on Saturday, Guilhermina is back on the track on Sunday for another qualifying heat, this time for the 200m event.

Al Muftah, Youth Ambassador of Doha 2015 IPC World Athletics Championships meets multiple World and Paralympic Champion, Terezinha Guilhermina and her guide-001
Al Muftah, Youth Ambassador of Doha 2015 IPC World Athletics Championships meets multiple World and Paralympic Champion, Terezinha Guilhermina and her guide

Incredible athletes

Other para-stars competing on Friday include Great Britain’s world-record holder and gold medalist from the 100m T34 sprint in Lyon 2013 and the London 2012 Paralympics, Hannah Cockroft, and Aled Davies, reigning Shot Put F42 world champion. Another world champion on the opening day is Mandy Francois-Elie from France, who will line up in the first semifinals in the T37 100m sprint, while the US contingent will be hoping that Jeremy Campbell can continue his dominance and win gold in the Discus F44 event.

In addition, several of Doha’s strong local communities can look forward to see their heroes this Friday. India’s Girisha Hosanagara Nagarajegowda, silver medalist in High Jump T42 from the London 2012 Paralympics will be hoping to do one better and win gold on Friday evening, while Isidro Vildosola of the Philippines, who is in the 1500m T46 final, will be expecting roaring support from the stands. Same goes for the Nepalese 100m T11 sprinter Bikram Rana and Sri Lanka’s Pradeep Sanjaya Uggl Dena Pathirannehelag, who is hungry for more success after 2013’s bronze medal in Lyon.

Team Qatar ready to perform

For Team Qatar, there will be four athletes hoping to do their country proud this weekend. Mohammed Ali Al-Abd is first up in the F20 Shot Put event on Friday night. On Saturday afternoon Mohammed Rashid Al-Kubaisi  is lining up for the semifinals in the 400m T34 event, while on Sunday both Abdulla Abdulrahman and Nasser Saed Al-Sahoti will be respectively aiming for new personal records in the finals of the Long Jump T20 and Javelin Throw F57 events.

Also read: Strongest Team to Represent Qatar at Doha 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships

My Incredible Story

Giusy Versace IPC Athletics My Incredible Story
Giusy Versace

In the buildup to the Doha 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships, local organizers have launched a series of digital films known as ‘My Incredible Story’ which  feature the inspirational stories behind athletes like Terezinha Guilhermina, Thuraya al Zaabi of the UAE and the Italian sprinter Giusy Versace. On Saturday sports fans will be able to see Versace in action, who will be in the first sets of qualifying heats in the 200m T44 event.

Also read: ‘My Incredible Story’ Final Installment Features Qatari Child Wonder

The exhilarating sporting entertainment at Qatar Sports Club continues throughout the weekend. Further to the aforementioned, there is considerable anticipation linked to the performances of Cuba’s Paralympic gold medalist Omara Durand who is competing on Saturday in the semifinal of the 400m T46 event, Irish world champions Jason Smyth and Michael McKillop, both in the semifinals of the 100m T13 and 800m T37 events, Tunisia’s reigning world champion in the 400m T34 event, Walid Ktila, and Algeria’s Abdellatif Baka who will be hoping to protect his world title in the 800m T13 final.

For full schedule and results, visit the official website. In addition to online ticket sales, tickets can be purchased from the QOC Booths at Villagio, City Centre and Landmark malls. All proceeds of ticket sales will be donated to charity.