Paralympians get ready to take centre stage in Rio
Sports fans recovering from the excitement of the latest Olympic Games have little time to catch their breath. With 23 sports and 528 events over the course of 11 days of competition, the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro will be kicking off on 7 September.
As was the case with the Olympic Games, the 2016 edition of the Paralympic Games will be the first to be staged in the continent of South America. They will also be the first Games to feature the sports of canoeing and paratriathlon.
The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) is confident that the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games will act as a catalyst for positive social change in Brazil and Latin America. Speaking on 19 August, Sir Philip Craven, IPC President, said: “I am fully confident Rio 2016 will be the best Games ever in terms of athletic performance. You only have to look at some of the achievements from Para athletes over the last two years to realise that we will witness some truly spectacular sport.
“I believe the performances of the Para athletes will act as a catalyst for social change,” he added. “The Paralympics have a strong track record for changing global attitudes towards people with an impairment, and are now widely regarded as the world’s number one sporting event for driving positive societal change and social inclusion. “The opportunity we have here to make Rio, Brazil, Latin America and the world a more equitable place for all does not come around very often, so we have to grab it with both hands.”
I believe the performances of the Para athletes will act as a catalyst for social change.Sir Philip Craven IPC President
The IPC has been working with the Rio 2016 Organisers to ensure that these Paralympic Games are held at the highest possible standard. Sir Philip reminded everyone of the spirit of the Paralympic Games and of Paralympic athletes. “It’s in our Paralympic DNA to see obstacles as an opportunity to do things differently and that’s what we are doing here. We are problem solvers by nature and fight for what we believe in.”
And he went on to praise Rio’s Mayor Eduardo Paes who had been instrumental in securing additional funding for the Games: “Mayor Paes has always been a huge advocate of the Paralympics and the seismic impact they can have in terms of driving social inclusion,” said Sir Philip. “He saw what the London 2016 Paralympics did for the British capital, and now he wants that same transformation to take place here in Rio.”