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What to watch in disability sports: April

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April 2016 is a busy month for disability sport.  Winter sports are winding down, and summer sports are really get going with the Paralympic games looming on the horizon.
On April 2, the 2016 IPCNS Ugra Ski Marathon takes place in Khanty Mansiysk, Russia.  It is open athletes LW2-9 and B1-3 classes and Deaflympic athletes who compete in the 25 KM and 5KM versions. The race is particularly interesting given its history dating back to 1582.
One of the events to watch in April is the 2016 IPC Ice Sledge Hockey European Championships Ostersund (Sweden).  Continentally, European countries have the most teams playing.  The next closest region in terms of depth of teams is Asia, topping the Americas with about three competitive teams instead of two.  With the World Championships having concluded, this leaves this event as one of the biggest remaining one of 2016.
The Boston Marathon takes place on April 18.  It is a chance for athletes to qualify for the Paralympic Games in the marathon, and some of the world’s best will be there.  Marcel Hug and Tatyana McFadden won last year’s edition, and should be back this year.  Their recent performances in the past year and a half leave both as medal favorites for Rio.   About a week later on April 24, the London Marathon takes place.  If marathon racers weren’t in Boston, they should be in London for this race as it provides an important practice for the Rio Games.
Europe’s shooters have a good chance to get in more practice at the 2016 IPC Shooting World Cup Szczecin, Poland that gets underway on April 28 and concludes on May 5.  Paralympic qualifying is done, but practice is good.  Regional shooters who didn’t make the cut for Rio but might be in the running for 2020 are likely to be putting in appearances.  It provides another important opportunity to get a look at the world’s future best and brightest in the sport.
The 2016 INAS Africa Open Futsal Tournament get underway on April 23 and conclude on May 1 in Yaounde, Cameroon.  With ID Football not on the Paralympic program, this is the biggest event for ID footballers in Africa this year.  It should assist in developing the sport on the continent in preparation for future world championships, an event typically dominated by Saudi Arabia and Brazil.  It is worth watching to get an idea of future world powers.
The 2016 INAS World Cross Country get underway on March 31 and concludes on April 4.  Taking place at Sunken Meadow State Park in Kings Park, New York, it will use the same course as the New York State High School Cross Country Championships in 2002 and 2006. It coincides with a INAS 30th Anniversary event.  It will be the first time the event the United States has hosted an INAS World Championship.
The IWAS Wheelchair Fencing Asian Championships take place in Hong Kong from April 6 to April 11.  The event is an important continental championship in the lead up to the Rio Paralympics.  Any Asian Paralympic competitor will be at this event as part of their qualifying and preparation efforts.
The 2016 IWAS Wheelchair Fencing World Cup has an event in Laval, Canada from April 27 to May 1.  Outside of continental championships, the event serves as an important ranking event and competition to get international experience.  The best wheelchair fencers in the world should be there.
Laura Hale
About Laura Hale (2521 Articles)
Laura Hale is a sport journalist, specializing in Paralympic and disability sport news. Prior to helping found ParaSport-News, she spent two and a half years working as a journalist on Wikinews, a citizen journalism site. As a journalist, she has covered the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London, the 2013 IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships in La Molina, the 2014 Winter Paralympics in Sochi, and a number of other sporting events. She has additional experience with Paralympic sport having worked as a Wikipedian in Residence for the Australian and Spanish Paralympic Committees.

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