Exclusive: IPC and IAAF World Athletics Championships should always be held side-by-side says Baroness Tanni

Tuesday, 01 January 2013
By Tom Degun

Baroness Tanni Grey-ThompsonJanuary 1 - Britain's 11-time Paralympic champion Baroness Tanni Grey Thompson believes the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships should always be held side-by-side.

London have been awarded the right to stage both competitions in 2017 and they will hold the IPC event in July at the Olympic Stadium in Stratford before hosting the IAAF meet in the same venue a month later in August – marking the first time ever the two will be held side-by-side in the same location.

And Baroness Tanni, who won six IPC World Athletics Championship medals during her glittering wheelchair racing career, said she hopes the format is maintained beyond 2017 for the good of disability athletics.

"First and foremost, I think that it is brilliant that the IAAF is getting more involved with disability athletics," Baroness Tanni told insidethegames.

"That is where we should be because disability athletics should be with the international athletics federation.

"Having the IPC World Championships and the IAAF World Championships staged together has got to be a good thing in terms of organisation, continuity and pretty much everything else.

"We saw at London 2012 how the Olympic and Paralympic athletics competitions really benefited from each other so having a similar format with the two World Championships would do the same thing."

Olympic Stadium 2London will become the first city to stage the IPC and IAAF World Athletics Championships side-by-side when they host the two events back-to-back in 2017 at the Olympic Stadium

The 43-year-old from Cardiff continued that IPC World Athletics Championships in the past have suffered from a lack of exposure from being held on their own and at difficult times in the calendar.

She points to the Christchurch 2011 IPC World Athletics Championships in New Zealand as a key example after that event was held from January 21 until 30.

"I think we saw disability athletics suffer at Christchurch 2011 because it was held at a bad time of year for everyone in the world really," she said.

"They tried really hard with those Championships but it is just isn't how you want it to be.

"The fact is that there is an appetite to come and watch disability atheltics as we saw with London 2012.

"So if the IPC Championships are staged in and around the IAAF Championships, then you ensure that they are held at a peak time in the calendar and you also have the opportunity to build up for two events rather than just one.

"I think that is the way it must go."

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