November 10 - The final event of the 2013 Caixa Loterias Athletics and Swimming Circuit concluded in Fortaleza today and was hailed as a big success by Brazilian Paralympic Commttee (CPB) technical director, Edilson Alves.
The meeting in Fortaleza saw around 500 Paralympic swimming and track and field athletes competing for medals at the Náutico Atlético Cearense swimming pool and on the track at the University of Fortaleza in what was the seventh and final event of the 2013 circuit.
Across the year, a total of 234 national records were set and one world record broken during the four regional events in Rio South, North and Northeast, São Paulo and Centre East, and the three national events in São Paulo, Porto Alegre and Fortaleza.
"In World Championship years, the circuit always becomes more competitive, but this season truly surprised us," said Alves.
"This only confirms how much we are evolving.
"The events are getting better every day and the athletes are even more committed.
"Thus we are creating a broader and stronger athlete base."
In all, around 3,500 athletes competed across the year including athletes from countries such as Canada, Russia, Argentina, Chile and Angola among others, reflecting the high level of competition seen on the circuit, according to Alves.
"For all these reasons, it is only natural that they [foreign athletes] come to our country to compete, especially in this cycle of the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro," added Alves.
As well as acting as an important part of the build-up to Rio 2016, many of the athletes who competed at this year's International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Athletics World Championships and Swimming World Championships in Lyon and Montreal respectively, were selected due to their performances on the circuit this year.
Athletes who impressed in Lyon included Daniel Mendes who took gold in the men's T11 400 metres and bronze in the T11 200m while Lorena Spoladore claimed the women's T11 long jump world title.
Veronica Hipolito secured gold in the T38 200m and a silver medal in the T38 100m, and followed this up with impressive performances at the Youth Parapan American Games in Buenos Aires last month, which included gold medals in the T37/38 long jump and the T38 200m.
In Montreal, Roberto Alcade took the men's SB5 100m breaststroke world crown while Talisson Glock secured silver medals in the SM6 individual medley and the S6 freestyle events before going on to claim five gold medals in Buenos Aires.
With the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games and the Rio 2016 Paralympics on the horizon, Brazil's national athletics coordinator, Ciro Winckler says that the circuit is vital to ensuring athletes maintain a high-level of preparation.
"We will establish a routine for these next two years," said Winckler.
"The main idea is to strengthen the main team members to maintain a high level in the Championships."
In addition to the final event of the Caixa Loterias Circuit, the Brazilian Powerlifting Invitational Championships also took place in Fortaleza this week, which saw Brazilian powerlifters joined by athletes from Argentina, Chile and Colombia.
Eight Brazilian athletes met the requirements for selection for next April's World Championships and will now be hoping to make the final squad for Dubai when it is confirmed in January.
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November 2013: Athletes' gather for 2013 IPC Powerlifting Brazilian Powerlifting Invitational Championships
August 2013: Brazilian Paralympic athletes pay visit to President Rousseff