London gets 2006 Ontario Paralympics

ERIC BENDER -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 8:48 AM ET

The city has been awarded the 2006 Ontario Paralympics championships, it was announced yesterday.

"This is a great opportunity for the city to showcase its accessibility," said Blair McIntosh, manager of Sport Tourism for Tourism London. "And it's a lead up to any national championship and it will be a qualifier for Beijing."

The provincial championships for next year will include a number of Team Canada competitors as they attempt to qualify provincially and then nationally for the Chinese paralympics in 2008.

McIntosh said London lobbied for the paralympics with a number of other cities vying to demonstrate their accessibility.

More than 200 competitors and their support people are expected. "The athletes, support people, family and friends are a big part of the paralympics," McIntosh said.

All but one event will be at the University of Western Ontario, where the athletes and their support people will be housed. Boccia, power lifting, athletics, wheelchair rugby, wheelchair tennis and goal ball are the six main sports, but cycling at London's new velodrome will be a demonstration sport.

Paralympics Ontario made the London announcement following this year's paralympics in Essex, near Windsor, on the weekend. It is trying to include most of the sports that are included in the Olympics.

McIntosh said 100 to 150 volunteers will be needed for next year's event, to be held July 6-8.

Winning the paralympics adds to Sport Tourism's 2006 calendar, which includes the World Field Lacrosse championships, curling's Scott Tournament of Hearts and the International Postal Hockey championship.


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