A protocol agreement has been signed giving Rabat in Morocco the hosting rights for the first African Para Games ©IPC

Morocco will host the inaugural African Para Games in January 2020, it has been announced.

The Moroccan capital of Rabat will host the first ever African Para Games, which will act as a Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games qualifier in some events.

A protocol agreement to award Morocco the event was signed in the presence of International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President Andrew Parsons. 

Around 1,200 athletes are expected to compete across seven sports, including athletics, blind football, goalball, powerlifting, sitting volleyball, taekwondo and wheelchair basketball.

The Games will become Africa's main Para sport competition, according to the IPC.

"This is an historic moment for the Paralympic Movement," Parsons said. 

"I am very glad and thankful to the Moroccan authorities that we will have the opportunity to organise this Para Games in Africa for the first time.

“African Para athletes will have a good chance to qualify for Tokyo 2020 and showcase their abilities to the wider audience.”

IPC President Andrew Parsons said the first African Para Games was a historic moment for the Paralympic movement ©Getty Images
IPC President Andrew Parsons said the first African Para Games was a historic moment for the Paralympic movement ©Getty Images

“I am very glad and honoured that my home city of Rabat will host the first edition of the African Para Games," added Hamid Al Aouni, President of National Paralympic Committee Morocco. 

“We do have fantastic sports facilities here in Rabat; well-prepared and experienced experts that will organise the Games; the Government and partners who will support; and society that love all type of sports.”

Proposals for an African Para Games were first discussed in April last year, with the hope that the event would become an official multi-sport event taking place every four years in the run-up to the Paralympic Games.

The African Union, a continental organisation featuring the 55 independent countries of Africa, then endorsed the plan last November. 

Athlete classification evaluation, anti-doping educational courses and a Proud Paralympian workshop will be held in the lead-up to and during the African Para Games.

“It is another important step for the recognition of sports for people with disabilities in the African continent," said African Paralympic Committee President Leonel da Rocha Pinto.

"A dream becomes a reality."

Morocco is also due to host the 2019 African Games later this year.