“After taking so many steps forward with the best Paralympic Games ever in London, it is important that we do not take a step back. We must all continue to enjoy working together to progress and develop our Movement for the benefit of all."
International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President Sir Philip Craven has hailed 2012 as the Paralympic Movement’s most successful year yet and said that in the coming years wider broadcast coverage and greater promotion of athletes can help bring to life the IPC’s vision of “inspiring and exciting the entire world.”
In a New Year’s message to IPC members, Sir Philip said that London 2012 had propelled the Paralympic Movement to new heights and that some countries had witnessed seismic shifts in attitudes towards people with an impairment as a result. He pointed out that many athletes were now household names in their respective countries and that many Paralympic sports were enjoying a greater profile.
Sir Philip Craven said: “After taking so many steps forward with the best Paralympic Games ever in London, it is important that we do not take a step back. We must all continue to enjoy working together to progress and develop our Movement for the benefit of all.
“I’d personally like to thank all those involved in delivering the Paralympic Movement’s most successful year to date in 2012. From my experiences in life, it takes at least 10 years of diligent work to achieve major objectives. 2012 delivered an amazing rendition of the IPC vision “to enable Paralympic athletes to achieve sporting excellence and inspire and excite the world.”
Busy year ahead
Although 2013 is not a Paralympic year, it will be an extremely busy one with at least 10 World Championships scheduled to take place. In addition to Test Events for the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games, regional events such as the Youth Para Pan American Games and Asian Para Games are planned.
According to Sir Philip all these events must be used to build on the momentum generated by London 2012.
Sir Philip Craven said: “For the summer sports that host major Championships it is important for them to maintain and try and build on the level of competition that was achieved in London.
“It is also vitally important that we all work together to sustain the media interest generated in 2012. The world’s media has a key role to play in all our progress and hopefully 2013 is the year they realise that the athletes who inspired and excited the world in London compete every year, not just every four years at the Paralympics.
“In terms of winter sport it is all about building for Sochi 2014 with the world’s best athletes testing out their opponents in World Championships before testing out the venues in the city that will stage the next Paralympic Winter Games.”
The IPC President said that in 2013 the IPC will be focusing on fulfilling its six strategic goals which form part of the 3rd IPC Strategic Plan 2011-2014. The Agitos Foundation will also play a key role in athlete development.
Sir Philip Craven said: “Although a record number of athletes and countries took part in London, the need for continued athlete development was underlined by the fact that 45 per cent of all athletes came from just 10 countries. In contrast 46 countries sent just one athlete.
“The Agitos Foundation, launched by the IPC during London 2012, will support and, if necessary, take the lead in global athlete development. The Youth Para Pan American Games and Asian Para Games will provide a great opportunity for a new generation of athletes to enter the international arena.”
In his message to members Sir Philip also added that the IPC’s future was secure thanks to the latest IOC/IPC Partnership and Co-operation Agreements and that in 2013 the IPC would be aiming to capitalise on London 2012 both commercially and in terms of broadcasting.
Sir Philip Craven's New Year's message in full can be read here