By Gary Anderson

November 21 - Olympic champion Jason Smyth of Ireland could be one of the stars of the 2014 IPC Athletics Grand Prix series © Getty Images International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Athletics has announced the addition of two new events to its Grand Prix series for 2014 with Nottwil in Switzerland and Tunis in Tunisia bringing the number of events for next year up to nine.

IPC Athletics claimed it was satisfied with the improvements made by the local organising committees of the two new host cities who now join the seven Grand Prix hosts from 2013 for next year's series which gets underway again in Dubai from February 23 to 25 at the 6th Fazaa International Athletics Competition.

The world's top Para-athletes will then move onto Beijing and Sao Paolo in April with the China Open Athletics Championships scheduled for April 14 to 16 followed by the Caixa Loterias Athletics Open Championships in the Brazilian city from the 24 to 26.

This year's Grand Prix Series series saw a total of 1,037 athletes from 69 countries set a total of 10 world records, culminating in the Grand Final at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham, which preceded the IPC Athletics World Championships in Lyon.

Birmingham will once again host the 2014 Grand Prix Final on August 25.

Before that though, the series will leave Sao Paolo and head to the Desert Challenge Games in Mesa, Arizona, which run from May 9 to 11.

Nottwil is the next stop on May 16 through until 18 before Grosseto hosts the Italian Open Championships from May 30 to June 1.

The series will then visit its fourth continent from June 16 to 18 at the Tunis International Meeting before attention turns back to Europe again at the Berlin Open from June 20 to 22.

Switzerland's Marcel Hug will be hoping to impress home fans when the IPC Athletics Grand Prix series heads to Nottwil for the first time © Getty Images Switzerland's Marcel Hug will be hoping to impress home fans when the IPC Athletics Grand Prix series heads to Nottwil for the first time © Getty Images

The Birmingham Grand Prix Final will take place just two days after the conclusion of the IPC European Championships in Swansea, which is expected to see around 600 athletes from 40 countries competing at Swansea University from August 18 to 23.

"This announcement is a direct result of developments secured during the trial Grand Prix events in 2013 and shows the huge growth in athletics in a very short period of time," said Ed Warner, chair of the IPC Athletics Sport Technical Committee.

"Last year's World Championships in Lyon, France, raised expectations for numbers of athletes, participating countries, spectators and media interest.

"It was unprecedented but further confirms that Para-athletics is on the up.

"By working closely with existing event organisers, we aim to improve standards across the board and, most importantly, provide a strong and structured competition pathway on the road to Rio 2016."

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