Dubai, United Arab Emirates, March 21 2016 – The Netherlands’ Margriet van den Broek and Marcel Hug, of Switzerland, emerged as the standout stars of the Fazza IPC Athletics Grand Prix – Dubai 2016 after the fourth and final day of competition here at the Dubai Police Club Stadium.
The flying Dutchwoman and the Swiss sensation both claimed five medals at the eighth edition of this event, with Hug winning three golds (T54 800m, 1,500m and 5,000m), one silver (T54 400m) and a bronze (T54 200m) and van den Broek taking away four golds (T54 200m, 400m, 800m & 5,000m) and one bronze (T54 100m).
“If this is an indication for the Paralympic Games in Rio, then that would be fantastic!” admitted van den Broek, who is yet to be officially selected by the Dutch for the summer showpiece in Brazil.
“I don’t know for sure if I’m going to Rio, but I think I’ve got a good chance. We have a lot of very good athletes in Holland.
“I specialise in the 400m and the 800m, although – if I go to Rio – I want to compete in all of the distances as I like riding and I’m somebody that wants to be busy and who cannot sit still.”
Hug is also still to be picked for his native country, but he too has a strong case for inclusion having achieved “good qualification times” here in the emirate.
“I’m really happy and satisfied with my performance here in the UAE,” he said. “I’m feeling really well and in very good form at the moment.
“I’m focused on the Paralympic Games in Rio and I’m really looking forward to it, but there’s still a long way to go and anything can happen.”
The UAE registered five medals for the third day in a row as Zakaria Al Uaamari (2:05.84s) finished second in the men’s T46/47 800m, whereas Khaled Abdou (men’s T34 200m, 35:19s), Aisha Al Khaaldi (women’s discus F32/33, 10.22m), Siham Al Rasheedi (women’s discus F57, 23.97m) and Latifa Al Suwaidi (women’s discus F34, 10.42m) all clinched third-place finishes for bronze medals.
Meanwhile, Majid Al Usaimi, the Executive Director at the Dubai Club for the Disabled and Director of the Fazza Championships for the Disabled, was understandably delighted after another successful staging of this event, which involved 665 para-athletes from 49 countries this year.
“All of the indicators show that this is the biggest-ever Fazza IPC Athletics Grand Prix and the biggest athletics championships after the Paralympic Games and the World Championships,” he stated.
“This competition has consistently hit the heights and most of the top-ranking athletes who have qualified and are going to the Rio de Janeiro Paralympic Games are here now in Dubai.
“We’ve reached a level now where the Fazza IPC Athletics Grand Prix is very well-known and everyone wants to participate in the tournament.
“We’re very excited, happy and proud and we all want to give a big thanks to His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai, and our strategic partners, the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Center (HHC), for their invaluable support.”
Souad Ibrahim Darwish, the Director of Championships at the Hamdan bin Mohammed Heritage Center (HHC), added: “We’re proud to support our strategic partners the Dubai Club for the Disabled in the staging of the Fazza IPC Athletics Grand Prix as it showcases the sporting achievements and endeavours of people with disabilities – an important sector in the community here in the UAE and beyond.
“We’re sure that our UAE para-athletes and the international competitors will have benefited from the experience and we wish them all the very best of luck on the road to Rio de Janeiro.”
The Fazza IPC Athletics Grand Prix is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Sports Council (DSC).
It is organised and supervised by the Dubai Club for the Disabled (DCD) with the support of their strategic partners the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Center (HHC), the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), the General Authority for Youth and Sports Welfare (GAYSW), the DSC and the UAE Paralympic Committee.
This event is the second leg of the 10-stage International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Athletics Grand Prix series, which began in Canberra, Australia, last month.
There are subsequent stopovers on this year’s schedule at Tunisia, Italy, China and the USA prior to a Paralympics test event in Rio de Janeiro in May.
Events in Switzerland and Germany then follow thereafter before the circuit wraps up in Great Britain with the IPC Athletics Grand Prix Final on July 23rd.