Swansea tipped to deliver top class European athletics event
THE countdown has begun to next summer's International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Athletics European Championships - and host city Swansea has been backed to deliver a top class games.
Elite, home-grown athletes such as discus and shot put star Aled Sion Davies, of Bridgend, and Swansea swimmer Jack Thomas, spoke about their excitement at competing in their own "back yard" next August.
Organisers of the championships were given a first sight of the games logo - a red, gree and blue dragon - at this morning's official launch event.
The televised, five-day championships will take place at Swansea University and is expected to attract up to 2,000 athletes from 40 countries and 5,000-strong crowds.
IPC chief executive Xavier Gonzales told the audience that it was his first visit to "this beautiful part of the world".
He said the Swansea bid, involving the university, Swansea Council, Disability Sport Wales, UK Athletics and the Welsh Government, was very strong.
It is the first time, he said, that the games have ever taken place in Britain.
"We are confident that Swansea can deliver a highly successful championships in 2014," he said.
Former Wales rugby international Paul Thorburn, chairman of organising group Swansea2014, said the city had become used to sporting success.
He added: "Competing on home soil can give our athletes a real boost."