By Duncan Mackay
January 21 - New Zealand's Government today announced a $400,000 (£177,000) boost for the 2011 International Paralympic Committee Athletics Championships, which is due to be held in Christchurch next January.
The country's Prime Minister John Key, who made the announcement about the funding at the QE II Stadium, has also accepted the position as patron of the 10-day Championships, which are due to open in exactly a year's time on January 21, 2011.
Economic Development Minister Gerry Brownlee said that the funding from New Zealand's Major Events Development Fund will help ensure the success of this the event, the biggest and most prestigious event on the disability sports programme outside of the Paralympic Games.
Brownlee said: "These World Championships are held every four years and New Zealand was awarded the event after a competitive bidding process.
"It is a great honour for us to host the Championships as it is the first time it has been held outside Europe."
The 2011 IPC Athletics World Championships is the world's second largest international sports event for athletes with a disability behind the Paralympics and are expected to attract around 1,300 athletes and almost 900 officials from 75 countries.
The QE II Stadium was built specially for the 1974 Commonwealth Games in Christchurch, which is best remembered for a memorable 1500 metres race between Filbert Bayi and John Walker which ended with the Tanzania runner setting a world record of 3min 32.16sec that stood unitl it was broken by Sebastian Coe.
The last IPC World Athletics Championships were held in Assen in 2006, when the winners included South Africa's Oscar Pistorius - who claimed gold in the 100, 200 and 400 metres.
Britain's David Weir (pictured) also completed a hat-trick of victories in the in the T54 100m, 400m and 1500m.
The event wasnotable also as it was the last major championships that Britain's Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson competed in, winning a full set of medals, talking gold in the T53 200m, silver in the 800m and bronze in the 400m.
Brownlee claimed that the latest edition of the Championships will not only provide role models for disabled individuals but will also raise the profile of disability sport in New Zealand.
He said: "It is the first event in what will be a significant year for New Zealand sport."
Fiona Pickering, the chief executive of the Championships, said: "With the Championships expected to have an economic impact in excess of $75 million (£33 million) for New Zealand and $12 million (£5 million) for Christchurch, the support we have received from both the New Zealand Government and the Christchurch City Council is critical in making this a truly world class event."
Christchurch was chosen to host the Championships ahead of Barcelona.
Xavier Gonzalez, the chief executive of the IPC, said: "Barcelona is my home town so you can see my difficulty, but after just two days in the city I know we have made the right choice.
"Paralympic sport is about breaking boundaries, opening up new frontiers, so it is appropriate that we move out of comforts of Europe and come down to this beautiful city."