“I believe the Games can be transformational not just for Rio and Brazil, but the whole of the Americas and the Paralympic Movement."
With Sunday 7 September marking two years to go until the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President Sir Philip Craven has said their success is vital to the continued growth of the Paralympic Movement.
Around 4,350 athletes from more than 160 countries are expected to compete in Rio in what will be the biggest Paralympic Games to date featuring 528 medal events across 22 sports.
And, following the success of London 2012 and the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Games, the IPC President is full of confidence that Rio 2016 will continue the momentum generated in recent years.
Sir Philip Craven said: “Rio 2016 will be South America’s first Paralympic Games opening up a whole new continent to the power of the Paralympic spirit and Paralympic sport.
“I believe the Games can be transformational not just for Rio and Brazil, but the whole of the Americas and the Paralympic Movement.
“The next two years are huge for the growth of the Paralympic Movement in the Americas as we have two major multi-sport events taking place - the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games and Rio 2016.
“With the breakthrough we have achieved in broadcasting in the US, combined with growing awareness elsewhere, I am confident they will be a huge success, building on the platform laid by London 2012 and Sochi 2014.
“Of course the Games in Rio will be very different to London. No two Games are ever the same. However, I expect the colourful and vibrant atmosphere created by the carioca to lift the para-athletes to new levels. This will help generate worldwide news and help shift attitudes and perceptions of people with an impairment.
“The millions of spectators who attend the Games in Rio will be inspired and excited not just by the stunning beauty of Rio, but also the amazing abilities of every single para-athlete that takes part”
As with all Games, Sir Philip believes the performances of the host nation’s athletes can help make the Paralympic Games an even bigger success and is impressed by what he is seeing in Brazil.
“Over the last decade Brazil has been extremely strong on the track, in the swimming pool and on the football 5-a-side pitch, winning multiple Paralympic and world titles,” said Sir Phlip.
“The likes of Daniel Dias, Alan Oliveira, Terezinha Guilhermina, Andre Brasil and Jefferson de Conceicao are all established stars and all will be doubly determined to add to their medal collections in 2016.
“What has struck me though is Brazil’s growing strength in sports which they have not normally excelled at.
“They are world champions in men’s goalball, silver medallists in sitting volleyball and will be hoping for more success at this month’s boccia World Championships.
“With a new high performance centre under construction, they are only going to get stronger and new starts such as track star Veronica Hipolito and swimmer Talisson Glock will continue to emerge.”
The Rio 2016 Paralympic Games will take place between 7-16 September 2016 and to mark two years to go mark the occasion the city will celebrate Paralympic sport in style at one of its most beautiful locations.
From 8am to 11am on Sunday, stars of Brazilian men's sitting volleyball and goalball teams will take part in a series of games at Flamengo Park, which will stage the cycling and marathon events during the Paralympic Games.
They will be joined by members of Brazilian volleyball’s seminal ‘Silver Generation’, who won the country’s first Olympic medal in the sport. The Olympic heroes will participate in a new experiment, playing the Brazilian sitting volleyball team, who were runners-up at the 2014 World Championships, in a sitting volleyball match.