The 2016 IPC Athletics Asia-Oceania Championships officially got underway earlier today in Dubai with an opening ceremony that included fireworks and a 24 country strong parade of nations.
Dubai Sports Club for the Disabled President and Local Organizing Committee chair His Excellency Thani Juma Berregad was quoted by the International Paralympic Committee as saying during the ceremony, “For years, the United Arab Emirates and Dubai have earned a great reputation by successfully hosting multiple world class international sporting events, and they keep giving the world more memorable experiences, while leaving a lasting legacy internationally, because our homeland only moves forward, our leaders always motivate us to innovate and renew.”
His Excellency Mohammed Alhameli, IPC Governing Board Member also spoke at the ceremony, saying, “After successfully staging Grand Prix meetings in Dubai for the last three years, I am delighted that this inaugural Championship brings together hundreds of athletes from right across the Asia-Oceania region. […] This event acts as the final piece of the jigsaw in terms of regional events, and I am delighted that we now have regular regional Championships in Africa, the Americas, Europe and now Asia and Oceania.”
The competition is taking place at the Police Officers’ Club Stadium, a venue that holds 7,500 spectators. Over 220 athletes are scheduled to take part in the event, which for many is an important one in their 2016 Summer Paralympics qualifying campaign. Athletes scheduled to take part include the United Arab Emirates’ Mohamed Hammadi, Qatar’s Sara Masoud, India’s Amit Kumar, Japan’s Atsushi Yamamoto, Malaysia’s Mohamad Mohamad Puzi and Abdul Latif Romly, and China’s Jin Zheng and Liangmin Zhang.