World Para Swimming championships kick off in London
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World Para Swimming championships kick off in London

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The world’s best Para-swimmers are descending to the London Aquatics Centre this week, to mark the start of the London 2019 World Para Swimming championships.

Taking place less than a year before the start of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, the competition has been described as a "huge event" for para-swimming which, alongside athletics, is one of the big two sports at the Games.

Great Britain has named a team of 24 athletes for the event, which in total will see 650 athletes from 80 countries compete for medals at the largest World Para Swimming Championships in history.

London was only announced as competition hosts in April, after the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) decided to strip original host Malaysia of its rights for refusing to let athletes from Israel compete.

This year's competition – which runs from 9 to 15 September – will be the ninth edition of the World Para Swimming Championships and marks the second time the event has been staged in Great Britain following the 2015 edition in Glasgow.

The London Aquatics Centre was designed by Zaha Hadid for the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics and cost £251m. It had a capacity of 17,500 spectators during the event but following the Games the venue was reduced to 2,500 permanent seats, expandable to 3,500.

"The London Aquatics Centre brings back many fantastic memories of the 2012 Paralympic Games and I am sure athletes will be greatly excited to return to such an iconic venue," said IPC President Andrew Parsons.

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