Sir Philip Craven says it is “vital” that the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro are a “triumph” this year – to carry on the momentum from London 2012.
The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President believes the signs are looking promising as the organisation prepares for the first Games in South America.
London 2012 was widely described as the greatest-ever Paralympics after packed venues and top class sporting action, and Craven knows that the event four years ago cannot be remembered as a one-off highlight.
“The year ahead is one of the most important yet for the Paralympic Movement,” he said in his New Year’s message.
“As we work together towards making for a more inclusive society for people with an impairment through Para-sport, it is vital that South America’s first Paralympic Games are a real triumph.
“We must show to the world that Beijing 2008 and London 2012 were not exceptions, but the norm.
“Rio 2016 will be very different to London 2012.
“It is important that the host city of the Paralympics integrates its own local culture, character and heritage into the event.
“I am confident the Carioca will achieve this by bringing a real carnival atmosphere to the Games, ensuring a huge party to remember for athletes and spectators alike.
“The success of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games will be determined by a number of factors such as TV audiences, spectators, athletic performance and legacy and, with just over nine months still to go, the signs are looking promising.
“September’s Games are expected to reach a record cumulative TV audience of more than four billion people with high quality images set to be broadcast in around 150 countries and territories.
“The Organising Committee is also aiming to sell more tickets than ever before, aiming to surpass the 2.76 million tickets sold four years ago in London.
“With 94 per cent of tickets costing $23 (£15/€21) or less, I am optimistic the venues will be full of spectators cheering on the world’s best Para-athletes.
“As with all Games, there are many unknowns, but one thing I am absolutely certain of is that Para-athletes will once again raise the bar in terms of athletic performance.
“We saw in 2015 when nearly every Paralympic sport held a World Championships that athletes are getting faster, stronger and more agile.
“Thanks to the efforts of the National Paralympic Committees, athletes will arrive in Rio not only as the best prepared but also the most well-known, with leading Paralympians enjoying greater public profile than ever before.
“This will go a long way to ensuring their performances really do inspire and excite the world.”
Craven added that the Games must leave a legacy for Brazil and acknowledged concerns about political and financial turmoil in the country, as well as fears over polluted waters for the rowing, canoeing, sailing and triathlon events.
“Brazil’s current economic downturn and political unrest are far from ideal, whilst issues with transport and water quality at open water sport venues persist,” he said.
“The health and well-being of athletes is the IPC’s top priority at all times and between now and the Games, the IPC will be working closely with the IOC, Rio 2016 and the World Health Organisation to ensure that no health risk is posed to athletes competing in events such as rowing, canoe, sailing and
The Paralympics will take place between September 7 and 18.
- By Dan Palmer
This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, www.insidethegames.biz
- By Dan Palmer