The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has rescheduled its 2017 World Para Swimming and World Para Powerlifting Championships to run between November 27 and December 7 after local authorities in Mexico City said they are keen to use the event to demonstrate the Mexican capital’s recovery following last month’s devastating earthquake.
The IPC postponed the Championships after the city was hit by a 7.1 magnitude earthquake on September 19. The earthquake caused devastation across Mexico City, killing more than 200 people and leaving widespread infrastructural damage.
The two events had been due to run alongside one another from September 30 to October 6, with the IPC’s decision marking the first time it had been forced into postponing a major championships.
The events were due to take place at the Francisco Marquez Olympic Swimming Pool and the adjacent Juan de la Barrera Olympic Gymnasium, which are said to have suffered only minor damage. However, a full structural assessment needed to be carried out, with some of the hotels lined up to accommodate athletes and other related infrastructure having been badly damaged.
The IPC said the decision to reschedule both Championships was taken following extensive dialogue and assurances from the Local Organising Committee and City of Mexico, as well as consultation with the IPC membership.
Andrew Parsons, IPC president, said: “After extensive dialogue, it is clear that both the Local Organising Committee and City Mexico are eager and very passionate about rescheduling the 2017 Para Sport Festival. They want to show to the world that Mexico City is open and that life and business is continuing. At the same time, the feedback from the IPC membership is that they are keen for the Championships to go ahead.
“After carrying out all of the necessary safety checks on the venues, team hotels and all related infrastructure, we have decided to reschedule the Championships for two months later than originally planned.
“We appreciate that the new dates may not suit all athletes and teams. However, we feel it is important to put on the 2017 Para Sport Festival in order to further show our support to the people of Mexico City and give all of those athletes that have spent the year training for this event the opportunity to compete at the very highest level.”
Following last month’s earthquakes, the IPC and Agitos Foundation launched a global fundraising campaign to support Unicef’s humanitarian efforts in Mexico. To date nearly $40,000 (€33,563) has been raised.
The IPC announced in June 2016 that the Swimming World Championships would be held alongside the powerlifting event and it had been hoped that the two competitions would create a festival of para sport in the city.