The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) saw one of its biggest changes in 2017, as it elected a new President for only the third time in its history.
Andrew Parsons won the vote after just one round at the climax of the IPC General Assembly on 8 September, to succeed Sir Philip Craven as the head of the Paralympic Movement.
The Brazilian secured 84 votes out of 162 at the election in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, to finish ahead of fellow candidates Haidi Zhang of China, John Petersson of Denmark and Patrick Jarvis of Canada.
The legacy of Sir Philip’s 16-year tenure and the dawn of a new era under Parsons is therefore No. 1 in the IPC’s Top 50 Moments of 2017.
“I am absolutely delighted and I don’t know what to say. I would like to thank the IPC membership for their trust,” said Parsons following the elections.
“Throughout my campaign I think I have explained what I plan to do as IPC President and the membership understood and gave me their support. Now it is time to roll up the sleeves and work really hard with the membership and the new Governing Board.
“Going forward the relationship with the IOC is going to be key. We have some very important decisions ahead; sport is at a difficult moment at this time and we have many things in common that we have to fight for. It is fundamental that we work together, co-operate and I am sure we will do that.”
Dr. Robert Steadward of Canada was the founding IPC President in 1989 and led the organisation until 2001, when he was replaced by Sir Philip Craven of Great Britain, who served in the role for 16 years.
Under his leadership the IPC underwent unprecedented growth, with the Paralympic Games becoming the world’s biggest multi-sport event for driving social inclusion.
Parsons added: “Sir Philip is a legend, a mentor, an example and an absolute colossus, it’s impossible to describe him with just words. I have very big shoes to fill but I think I learned a lot from him and I will try to pay tribute to him by following in his footsteps.”
New Zealand’s Duane Kale was elected for the role of Vice President and 10 Members at Large were also chosen.
The full countdown of IPC’s Top 50 Moments of 2017 can be found here.