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Paralympics to go ahead despite major budget cuts

IPC president Philip Craven is confident of delivering a strong Paralympic Games despite a slash in the budget.

IPC president Philip Craven
IPC president Philip Craven

THE PARALYMPIC GAMES will go ahead as planned despite major budget cuts from the Rio 2016 Organising Committee, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) said.

The IPC confirmed organisers have slashed the original planned budget for the Games, which start on 7 September.

Cuts are to be made to the workforce, transport and venues, while 10 countries are struggling to finance the sending of teams to Rio due to the late arrival of National Paralympic Committee (NPC) grants from the event’s organising committee.

IPC president Philip Craven admits the current issues surrounding the Games are the most difficult in its history, but vowed to find solutions.

“Never before in the 56-year history of the Paralympic Games have we faced circumstances like this,” Craven said at a news conference. ”Since becoming aware of the full scale of the problem, we have focused all of our efforts on finding solutions to the problems.

“At the IPC we are a relatively small but united organisation. It’s in our Paralympic DNA to see obstacles as an opportunity to do things differently and that’s what we are doing here.

“We are problem solvers by nature and fight for what we believe in.”

An additional 150million Brazilian reais have been secured following discussions with Rio mayor Eduardo Paes, while a further R$100m is set to be provided by sponsorship from state-run companies.

NPC grants that were due to be paid by the end of July are now set to be delivered following this generation of funds, but Craven suggested that may come too late for some countries.

“Currently we have around 10 countries who, even if the grants are paid, may struggle to cover the cost of their travel to the Games. The IPC is working with them to find solutions and ensure their participation here in Rio,” he said.

“We want full participation here. We want all eligible countries to send their athletes to the Games. It’s what the athletes deserve and it is what the athletes want after years of training and dedication.”

Despite the budget cuts, Craven is confident that the Games will play a significant role in promoting social changes in Brazil and Latin America.

“I am fully confident Rio 2016 will be the best Games ever in terms of athletic performance,” he added. “You only have to look at some of the achievements from Para athletes over the last two years to realise that we will witness some truly spectacular sport.

“I believe the performances of the Para athletes will act as a catalyst for social change. The Paralympics have a strong track record for changing global attitudes towards people with an impairment, and are now widely regarded as the world’s number one sporting event for driving positive societal change and social inclusion.

“The opportunity we have here to make Rio, Brazil, Latin America and the world a more equitable place for all does not come around very often, so we have to grab it with both hands.”

On Wednesday, it was announced that just 12% of tickets for the Games had been sold.

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