Dubai is all set to host the first Para-sport event after almost a year with the 12th Fazza Athletics Championships – Dubai 2021 World Para Athletics Grand Prix getting underway from Feb. 10-13, 2021, following cancellation or postponement of major events due to COVID-19 Pandemic.
The Championships, hosted under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Sports Council, will serve as the one of the seven qualifying Para Athletics events for Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games with over 600 Para-athletes from 63 countries confirmed for it.
This week, several top names including world champions will be back in their favourite hunting ground at the Dubai Club for People of Determination grounds. The event is also the biggest Para Athletics Championships to be hosted after the Dubai 2019 World Championships.
The first teams, Team Uzbekistan and Chile, have arrived and have been training here for the last one month.
While Uzbekistan are one of the largest contingents in the event with 39 players, the other biggest teams, including Kenya with 69 players and France with 41 para-athletes, have arrived here on February 6, 2021.
India (39), Kazakhstan (38) and Russia (36) will also be hoping to secure some slots for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
Team Switzerland, who arrived here this morning, were confident of a good event despite the COVID-19 scare. “We trust Dubai that they will host a successful event. The safety measures look great around the Stadium. We are just waiting our players to compete in an international event after so long,” said the Swiss team coach Georg Pfarrwaller.
LOC confident of a successful event
All precautionary measures have been put in place, including sanitization of the Stadium and seating areas, PCR tests, hoardings and boards of safety measures inside the area etc. Besides, there are also teams appointed to keep a check on the measures – like social distancing, usage of masks and sanitizer, avoiding crowd etc.— will be strictly followed before and during the competition.
The Local Organising Committee (LOC) were well aware of the challenges but they said they are ready to host another fruitful Championships after the Dubai 2019 Worlds.
Mr. Thani Juma Berregad, Chairman of the Championships said: “After a difficult last year, we are happy to host the 2021 edition of the Fazza Championships. The event is also a testament that Dubai is ready to host successful competitions and welcome athletes from all over the world. The health and safety of the visiting teams are our priority and Dubai has always taken the precautionary measures. This time also we are following all the measures and happy to see the numbers of teams coming here.
“I wish them luck in the Championships.”
‘Ready for the challenge’
Mr. Majid Al-Usaimi, Director of the Championships added: “This Championships is very special to me. And this year it has come with some challenges. This year’s event will enter the history of UAE and the Dubai Club as this will open the Parasport season following a year of no competition due to the Pandemic. And we are ready for the challenge.
“My top two priorities here are the Protocol and Health of everyone attending the event. Following the safety measures will also be of paramount importance. So, there’s no time to rest for us and I trust my team that they can deliver a successful event like the World Championships in 2019. I wish the 63 visiting teams take good memories from Dubai. Good Luck!”
The classification of para-athletes will take place on Monday, when the teams will also start their Pre-Training in the evening.