DURBAN, South African, September 13. SOUTH Africa has pulled off a major coup by winning the bid to host the International Paralympic Committee's (IPC) Swimming World Championships in Durban in December, bringing the second biggest championships in Paralympic sport to the nation. A total of 600 swimmers and 265 officials from 60 countries will arrive in Durban for the December 2-8 championships which take place every four years and are second only to the IPC Athletics World Championships in size and prestige.
"The Swimming World Championships are certainly one of the most popular events within the IPC, and this is easily the biggest Paralympic event South Africa has ever hosted," said Alison Burchell, General Manager of Disability Sport South Africa.
The championships will attract the biggest names in the sport, including South Africa's Paralympics stars Natalie du Toit, Tadhg Slattery. The last championships were held in Argentina in 2002, where South Africa finished 19th out of 53 countries with three gold and two silver medals.
"This is a tremendous honor for us because we were up against countries like Wales and France in the bidding process, both of whom were very determined to win this bid," said Burchell.
The successful bid was the result of a strong partnership between Disability Sport South Africa, Swimming South Africa, the eThekwini Municipality and main sponsor Telkom. The championships will take place at the King's Park Aquatic Centre in Durban, which has also successfully hosted the Fina Swimming World Cup in the past. The open water events will take place at the nearby Haselmere Dam in Canelands, north of Durban.
As the main sponsor of the championships, Telkom has expressed its delight at being associated with another major international swimming event.
"Our association with the Fina Swimming World Cup has brought the world's top able-bodied swimmers to South Africa, and we are delighted that we can now say the same for the IPC World Swimming Championships," said Braam Wessels of the sponsors. "As a Paralympics sponsor we take great pride in being associated with an event that will expose our top paralympic swimmers to vital international competition.”