May 6 - Sebastian Coe (pictured) has today lent his support to the BT Paralympic World Cup in Manchester and said the event is an important stepping stone in the build up to the London 2012 Games.
Coe, the chairman of London 2012, praiseed the annual event, being held in its fifth year and said it is a fantastic opportunity for aspiring athletes to compete in international competition outside of the Paralympic Games.
He said: “The BT Paralympic World Cup provides a significant stepping stone for many athletes aiming to compete in London and beyond and the event is a place where they can raise their game and test themselves against strong international opposition, providing vital preparation but also a great sporting spectacle along the way
“I had the pleasure of being in Beijing for the Paralympic Games last year and watched with admiration as ParalympicsGB athletes won 102 medals, 42 of them gold and finished second on the medal table behind only the hosts, China.
“It is exciting to think that London in 2012 is the next port of call for the ever-developing Paralympic Games, a place where Britain’s Paralympic athletes can once more show their extraordinary talent and inspire future generations to take up sport.”
Coe also praised Manchester, which has hosted the event since its inception in 2005.
He said: “Manchester provides a world-class host city for the event with its superb facilities, sporting history and vibrant volunteering culture and has enabled the BT Paralympic World Cup to become a benchmark around the world for elite disability sports events."
The BT Paralympic World Cup is the first major multi-sport elite disability event to be staged since the Beijing Paralympic Games and major international stars and a strong British contingent are expected.
The competition will be staged in Manchester from May 20-25, with over 400 competitors from over 31 countries scheduled to compete.
Athletes will compete in four sports at world class competition venues in Manchester: wheelchair basketball and athletics hosted at the Manchester Regional Arena, swimming at the Manchester Aquatics Centre and track cycling at the Manchester Velodrome.
Tickets for the BT Paralympic World Cup are now on sale and can be purchased via the event website at www.btparalympicworldcup.com or the ParalympicsGB website at www.paralympics.org.uk or by calling 0844 8471622.
Tickets cost £3 per session.