Some of the world’s top disabled sports stars will be in London next month to showcase what the Paralympics has to offer, less than a year before the 2012 games take centre stage in the capital.
International Paralympic Day, on Thursday 8 September, will include demonstrations of sports such as wheelchair basketball, powerlifting and wheelchair rugby in London’s Trafalgar Square.
UK Paralympic stars such as swimmers Ellie Simmonds and Sascha Kindred and rower Sam Scowen will be joined by international athletes including South African Oscar Pistorius, the German athlete Heinrich Popow and US sprinter April Holmes.
Pistorius will be appearing just days after he is due to compete in the (non-disabled) world championships in South Korea, having shocked the athletics world by qualifying for the 400 metres.
The public will be able to find out about all 20 sports that will feature in next year’s London 2012 Paralympic Games, which will take place from 29 August to 9 September.
Other highlights of International Paralympic Day will include an attempt by members of Britain’s sitting volleyball team to break the world record for the longest rally.
International Paralympic Day is usually held in Germany every two years, but Paralympic chiefs decided to hold this year’s event in London as part of the build-up to London 2012. The event will be free, with activities taking place throughout the day.
Sir Philip Craven, president of the International Paralympic Committee, said: “Showcasing Paralympic sport and our athletes in such a superb location, such as Trafalgar Square, will act as the perfect catalyst as we head towards tickets going on-sale.
“It will give the public an opportunity to interact with our athletes, learn more about each sport and see for themselves just why the Paralympic Games is growing in popularity all the time.”
The following day, 9 September, tickets for the London 2012 Paralympics will go on sale, with the application process open until 26 September. More than half of the two million tickets will cost £10 or less, with three-quarters at £20 or less.
On Saturday 10 September, Paralympic sponsor Sainsbury’s will stage a day of live music – including UK acts Pixie Lott, The Saturdays and the Sugababes – demonstrations of Paralympic sports, and appearances by British Paralympic athletes, on London’s Clapham Common.
The Sainsbury’s Super Saturday event will again aim to raise awareness of Paralympic sport, with profits going to the Paralympic Legacy Fund, a Sainsbury’s initiative to support Paralympic athletes.