Nolan welcomes six-event Grand Prix plan


Irish Paralympics athletics coach James Nolan has warmly welcomed the new six-event Grand Prix announced for this spring and summer, which is “sure to give even more exposure to the sport” on the back of the London Paralympics.

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) for athletics yesterday announced details of the six Grand Prix events, starting in March with a three-day meeting in Dubai, before heading to Beijing, Sao Paulo, Grosseto in Italy, then Arizona, and ending in Berlin. It’s also been agreed London will stage the first IPC Athletics Marathon World Cup this April.

Nolan – himself a former two-time Olympian – was Irish athletics coach at the London Paralympics, which saw Ireland win 16 medals in total, six of which were won in athletics: a sprint double for Jason Smyth, a middle-distance double for Michael McKillop, silver for Catherine O’Neill in the discus, and bronze for Orla Barry, both in the women’s discuss.

“Definitely, it’s something the athletes will be very happy about,” says Nolan. “The big event this summer is the World Championships, in Lyon, but I could certainly see the likes of Jason and Michael doing one of two of these meetings, so it really great, not just for Paralympics athletics, but for Paralympic sport in general, sure to give more exposure to the sport.

“My understanding is that it will be the same as any other athletics meeting,” says Nolan, “where invited athletes have their flights and accommodation covered, and maybe some prize money on top of that maybe even some sort of appearance fee. ”

“This announcement is a direct legacy of London 2012 where the sport’s profile was raised to astronomical levels,” says Ed Warner, of the IPC.

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