Brazilian Andrew Parsons has been re-elected for a second four-year term as President of International Paralympic Committee (IPC). Parsons, who was standing unopposed, received 156 yes votes (98 per cent) of the 159 valid votes at the 20th IPC General Assembly which was held virtually on Sunday 12 December.
Parsons, the former President of the Brazilian Paralympic Committee and Americas Paralympic Committee, has served various roles within the Paralympic Movement over the last 24 years since starting out as an intern at the Brazilian Paralympic Committee. He was elected as IPC President in September 2017, succeeding Sir Philip Craven who stepped down after 16 years.
“I would like to thank the IPC membership for your support, it is an absolute honour to re-elected as President of the International Paralympic Committee,” said Parsons. “I started as an intern in the Brazilian Paralympic Committee 24 years ago so to be re-elected after, what I think was a successful first four years, is fantastic, I am so over the moon.
“I also want to congratulate all of the Board members who have been elected, including our Vice President Duane Kale who did a very good job over the last four years chairing the working group on the governance review.
“It’s a very interesting and new Board; we have more women than ever before and, with the Chair of the Athletes’ Council, we have eight former Para athletes or Paralympians. This will help us a lot over the next four years.
“We are saying goodbye to some Board members who were trying for re-election and I would like to thank them all for the last four years. We have achieved so much together, and it was an honour serving this organisation, and the athletes with you.
“This General Assembly was not just about elections but also about approving the new IPC Constitution. This was a very important step to our governance and our purpose. Our purpose is clearer than ever before, it’s about the athletes and the membership, the Paralympic Games and it’s about human rights. The newly elected Board will help us with this implementation.
“Our organisation is going through an incredible moment in time even though we are still facing the pandemic. With successful Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, we showed to the world what this Movement is about, what we stand for and how we focus on the well-being of our members and our athletes.”
During his first four-year term Parsons transformed the culture within the IPC to make it a more membership-focussed, athlete-centred organisation and oversaw the safe and successful delivery of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. He strengthened the IPC’s relationship with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), signing a new agreement between the two organisations which provides financial stability for the IPC and maintains the “one city, two Games” model through to 2032. By adding a third strategic pillar to the IPC activities focusing on advancing the human rights of persons with disabilities, he has also redefined the IPC’s purpose.
In addition to Parsons’ re-appointment, New Zealander Duane Kale was also re-elected for a second four-year term as IPC Vice President. Standing unopposed, the four-time Paralympic swimming champion received 154 yes votes from the 159 valid votes.
Having competed at the Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games, Kale served as the New Zealand Chef de Mission for the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Paralympic Games. Since election as IPC Vice President in 2017 he has chaired and led the IPC governance review process and chaired the IPC Audit & Finance Committee.
Kale said: “I want to thank the membership for their endorsement of my second consecutive term as Vice President of the IPC and the opportunity to serve alongside President Andrew Parsons. Despite the challenges faced, we have made significant advancements in the delivery of our strategic plan and with our Purpose. There is no doubt with the momentum we have, that the next four-year cycle will continue to deliver for our athletes, members and the Paralympic Movement. It is an honour to serve this incredible organisation.”
On Sunday, the IPC membership also elected 10 Members at Large following three rounds of voting. Overall, the IPC Governing Board now includes a record six female Board members, including IPC Athletes’ Council Chairperson Jitske Visser. The Board also includes a record eight Para athletes and Paralympians.
The Members at Large elected are to serve four-year terms are:
- Debra Alexander (South Africa – World Triathlon)
- Mohamed Alhameli (UAE – NPC)
- Muffy Davis (USA – NPC)
- Miki Matheson (Japan – NPC)
- Chelsey Gotell (Canada – NPC)
- Jai-Jun Choung (Korea – NPC)
- Luca Pancalli (Italy – NPC)
- John Petersson (Denmark – NPC)
- Majid Rashed (UAE – Asian Paralympic Committee)
- Robyn Smith (Australia – Virtus)
Visser said: “On behalf of the IPC Athletes' Council, I would like to congratulate all the members who were successfully elected to the IPC Governing Board.
“Out of the 13 Governing Board members, eight are Para athletes and Paralympians. As the official athlete representative on the Board, it is phenomenal to see so many athletes stepping into leadership positions, thus, increasing the athlete perspective into the policy and decision-making as we navigate the future of our movement.
“I am looking forward to working alongside fellow Governing Board members to continue to advance the Paralympic Movement and increase the voice of the athlete community into the decision-making process. “
All Board members elected on Sunday will serve four-year terms through to the 22nd IPC General Assembly which will be held in late 2025. With the approval of a new IPC Constitution by IPC members on Saturday (11 December), the First Vice-Chair of the IPC Athletes’ Council, will also serve on the IPC Governing Board alongside Visser. The First Vice-Chair will be elected by their fellow IPC Athletes’ Council members post the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games.