New IPC Chair Warner Wants World Champs. Merger with IAAF

By Community | May 13, 2011

UK Athletics chairman Ed Warner, this week appointed to position as chairman of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Athletics Sport Technical Committee (STC), has claimed his main goal in his new job is to combine the IPC World Athletics Championships into the able-bodied version, potentially starting at London in 2017.

Currently the IPC organises its own Championships every four years while the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) stages an event on a biannual basis, and Warner told insideparasport: “There are really two points to my role which consist of a short-term and long-term goal.

“Short-term, it is about helping to ensure the success of the athletics competition at the London 2012 Paralympic Games and London 2012 is obviously a key reason why I was appointed to the position.

“In my discussions with Xavier Gonzalez [the IPC chief executive] I made it clear to him that I could really assist with the IPC’s preparations for London 2012 due to my position as chairman of UK Athletics.

“I’m based in London and I obviously have very strong links with LOCOG having worked with them for many years so it is fantastic that I can act as a type of bridgehead between the two organisations.

“But long-term, post-London 2012, the key thing is to make sure that the sport continues to grow and I think that we need to explore with the IAAF about combing their Athletics World Championships with the IPC Athletics World Championships.

“I have strong contacts within the IAAF which will be extremely helpful in any discussions.

“Combing the two will not happen straight away as there is still a long way for the IPC Athletics World Championships but that is certainly something that must be considered over the coming years.”

Warner’s comments have come quickly after the announcement earlier this week that IAAF President Lamine Diack and IPC President Sir Philip Craven had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to work closer together.

Diack claimed he is ready to discuss “the prospect that future World Championships for able-bodied athletes and athletes with a disability could be held in conjunction with each other”.

London are among four bidders for the 2017 IAAF World Championships but have still to release full details of their bid, which has to be submitted by September 1. Insideworldparasport understands that it is considered likely that London will bid for both due to the fact that UK Athletics have delivered numerous successful world class disability events in recent years.

“It’s difficult to compare different bodies but UK Athletics certainly considers this IPC position to be a very prestigious appointment on the international stage,” Warner said.

“There will people out there who disagree and they are entitled to say what they like but I am proud to have this position.

“Under my chairmanship, disability athletics has also been held just important to UK Athletics as able bodied athletics has.

“There was not many chairman’s or Presidents of national athletic governing bodies at the Christchurch 2011 World Athletics Championships earlier this year but I was there because I felt it was very important to be there and to see the great things that went on and also the things that can be improved on.

“UK Athletics has shown how committed it is to disability athletics by investing heavily in the sport and making top appointments such as employing Peter Eriksson as Paralympic head coach when he was widely regarded as the best in the world.

“So Paralympic athletics could not be more important to us which is why we are so proud of this appointment.”