National Paralympic Committees (NPCs) were officially invited to attend the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games by International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President Sir Philip Craven at a special ceremony in Rio on Monday (14 September).
Around 170 countries are expected to attend next year’s Games with 4,350 athletes competing in 22 sports. As is tradition for the Paralympic Movement, following the playing of the Paralympic and Brazilian national anthems, Sir Philip invited five nations to accept invitations on behalf of their athletes, with each country also representing their continent.
First called to the stage to accept the Rio 2016 invitation was Leon Fleiser, Chef de Mission of NPC South Africa on behalf of Africa. He was soon followed by Kunio Nakamori, Secretary General of NPC Japan, on behalf of Asia; Esther Vergeer, Deputy Chef de Mission of NPC Netherlands, on behalf of Europe and Ben Lucas, Chef de Mission of NPC New Zealand, on behalf of Oceania. Finally, Andrew Parsons, President of hosts NPC Brazil, accepted his invitation on behalf of the Americas.
Monday’s ceremony came following the conclusion of the first day of the final Rio 2016 Paralympic Games Chef de Mission seminar which will continue through to Friday (18 September).
More than 200 delegates from nearly 100 countries are in Rio for the meeting which will see heads of delegations take part in a number of venue tours and receive updates and valuable information on various areas from Rio 2016 and IPC representatives.
The Rio 2016 Paralympic Games will take place between 7-18 September 2016.