D – 1 for the 2023 Para Athletics World Championships in Paris, the first since the 2019 edition in Dubai. They kick off on Saturday July 8 at the Stade Charléty, south of the capital, with a qualifying session in the morning, followed by an opening ceremony at the end of the day.
The first finals are scheduled for the evening session the following day. Over ten days of competition, the event will hand out 171 world titles. Above all, it will deliver several hundred Paralympic quotas. And will shed light on para-athletics, its athletes and disciplines, just over thirteen months ahead of the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games (August 28 to September 8).
On the eve of the opening ceremony, what can we learn from a world event held for the third time in France, following Villeneuve d’Ascq in 2002 and Lyon in 2013?
Record participation. The Paris 2024 effect was in full effect. The 2023 Worlds saw 1,330 athletes from 107 countries take part. France is presenting a team of 28 athletes and 6 guides, plus 6 competitors from the French Federation of Adapted Sport (FFSA). Belgium has announced a delegation of 14 athletes, one of the strongest in recent years.
Australia made the trip in force, with 39 entries, including three reigning Paralympic champions. Great Britain also pulled out all the stops, with 45 athletes, including seven Paralympic champions and almost a dozen first-timers at this level of competition.
The same was true of the American team, comprising 29 men and 16 women, selected last month at the end of the U.S. championships in Chula Vista, California.
Unprecedented media coverage. Here too, the Paris 2024 effect is making itself felt. In France, the Para Athletics World Championships will be broadcast by L’Equipe, on its Live 1 and Live 2 channels. The group has announced a total of 28 hours of live coverage over the ten days of competition. The coverage will be accompanied by a daily follow-up in the newspaper, plus a multi-page presentation on the opening day. On Saturday July 8, L’Equipe magazine will devote a special issue to para-athletics.
Another media partner of the event, Radio France, explains that highlights of the competitions will be covered live on franceinfo and France Bleu Paris. The public broadcaster has recruited a consultant from the winter sports world, paralympic skier Marie Bochet, recently elected co-chair of the French Paralympic Committee’s Athletes’ Commission.
In Australia, Channel Nine, the exclusive rights holder for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games, will be offering full streaming access to the competitions on its 9Now digital platform. In the United States, NBCUniversal is also announcing unprecedented coverage. The 2023 World Championships will be accessible via live streaming, from the first to the last day, on the Peacock platform, on the NBCSports.com website and on the NBC Sports app. A “best of” of the competition will be broadcast on Sunday July 23 on CNBC.
300,000 tickets for the public. A major first for the World Para Athletics Championships: both morning and evening competition sessions will be ticketed. 30,000 places per day. A choice fully endorsed by the Parisian organizers, who are convinced that it will better highlight the value of the show and the level of the athletes’ performances.
Paying, but accessible. Admission: 15.99 euros full price for one session. In the evening, a ticket at this price also gives access to the concert offered by the organizers alongside the competitions.
With 1 day to go before the opening, it is still possible to buy tickets for all sessions of the World Championships. There are also “Event packs” available, valid for all days of competition, with access to the grandstands and the entertainment village. Price: 153.75 euros.