10 July 2009 – A delegation from Madrid 2016 has travelled to Berlin to participate in tomorrow’s International Paralympic Day celebrations, demonstrating for the second time this week Spain’s strong commitment to Paralympic sports.

The Madrid 2016 delegation includes sports director Raul Chapado, international relations coordinator Ramona Von Ondarza, Paralympic sports coordinator Mariano Ruiz, and Spanish Paralympic athlete, Maximiliano Rodríguez (Long Jump and 100 metres).

The team will meet with the President of the International Paralympic Committee, Sir Philip Craven, to share the plans and latest investment news to enable Madrid 2016 in its ambition to stage the greatest Paralympic Games in history.

The event comes three days after the Spanish Prime Minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, pledged €17 million (euros) to invest in Paralympic sports over the next three years. The money will support the Spanish Paralympic team’s participation in Vancouver 2010 and London 2012, and raise the profile of athletes with disabilities.

The International Paralympic Day event itself gives people the opportunity to experience the inspiration and excitement of different Paralympic sporting events and watch the athletes demonstrate their skills and passion for sport. It also highlights the opportunities and challenges that sport represents for people with a disability.

Wheelchair Basketball and Rugby, Long Jump, Sitting Volleyball and 5-a-side Football are all sports forming part of the programme. There is also entertainment from the 1st Wheelchair Cheerleading group in Europe, adding music and dance to the event.

“International Paralympic Day is one of the most important days in the Paralympic calendar. Madrid is committed to hosting an event as unique and motivating as this in 2016. The Madrid Games will be one 60-day event, where the focus will be on performance with no thought of disability, only sport and its power to transform people’s lives,” said Mariano Ruiz, Madrid 2016 Paralympic sports coordinator.

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