ATHLETICS: Channel 4 to screen three major para-athletics events in 2013

Channel 4 has confirmed it will broadcast a triple-header of international para-athletics events this summer, following on from its hugely successful coverage of the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

The broadcaster, which recently won a BAFTA award for its coverage of the 2012 Paralympics, will screen terrestrial coverage of the first ever Sainsbury’s IPC Athletics Grand Prix Final from Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium on June 29.

A month later, Channel 4 will also show the final day of the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games at the Olympic Stadium on Sunday, July 28,  as well as extended coverage of the IPC Athletics World Championships from Lyon, which runs from July 19-28.

Following its comprehensive coverage of last year’s Paralympic Games, Channel 4 continues to receive wide ranging critical acclaim from the broadcasting industry.

As well as winning the ‘Best Sport and Live Event’ award at the BAFTA TV awards ceremony, beating strong competition from the BBC’s Olympics production, Channel 4’s coverage broke viewing records for Paralympic sport.

Its coverage reached almost 40 million people, three quarters of the UK population, according to Channel 4 figures.

Channel 4’s triple bill of summer para-athletics action begins in Birmingham on Saturday, June 29, with the inaugural IPC Athletics Grand Prix Final in Birmingham.

This event will give fans their first glimpse of world’s leading athletes and British favourites for the first time in the UK since last summer’s Paralympic Games.

Channel 4 Paralympics 2012 Courtesy of Channel 4

Household names such as Hannah Cockroft, Jonnie Peacock, David Weir and Richard Whitehead are all set to compete in the Birmingham event, which doubles up with the BBC-televised IAAF Diamond League meeting the following day (June 30).

A month later, Channel 4 will broadcast exclusive live coverage of the third and final day of the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games, which is dedicated to international para-athletics competition.

The Sainsbury’s International Para Challenge on July 28 will see the world’s best athletes return to London to compete for their countries in front of a capacity sold-out crowd at the Olympic Stadium.

London’s Diamond League meeting make up the other two days of action in the Anniversary Games with these sessions being shown on the BBC.

Channel 4 secured the rights to televise the 2014 Winter and 2016 Summer Paralympic Games earlier this year.

As part of the deal, the broadcaster also confirmed it would be televising this summer’s IPC Athletics World Championships in Lyon, France, as part of its commitment to continue para-sport coverage outside the Games.

Jamie Aitchison, Channel 4’s Sports Editor said: “Channel 4’s BAFTA award winning coverage of the 2012 Games brought Paralympic sport to a whole new audience in the UK and had a positive impact on attitudes towards disability sport.

“I’m delighted that we’re continuing the story with live coverage of the Sainsbury’s Grand Prix and Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games.”

British Athletics’ Commercial Director and Paralympian Sophia Warner said: “The 2012 Paralympic coverage marked a watershed moment for the sport.

“Channel 4 superbly showcased British Athletics’ Paralympians, and helped create some of the Britain’s biggest and brightest new sports stars.”

“Major brands are now recognising that these athletes have a unique appeal to the British public.”

An announcement on the format of Channel 4’s coverage of all three events, including scheduled and the presentation line-up, will be confirmed in due course.

  • IPC Grand Prix Final – Alexander Stadium, Birmingham (June 29)
  • International Para Challenge – Olympic Stadium, London (July 28)
  • IPC World Championships – Stadium Parilly, Lyon (July 19-28)

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