Dedicated stand publicizes Rio de Janeiro project for the Paralympic Games. André Oliveira takes bronze in long jump competition

The Rio de Janeiro bid to host the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games took part in the International Paralympic Day celebrations at the weekend. The event, held on Saturday 11 July, in Berlin, Germany, drew hundreds of people to the Brandenburg Gate where sports competitions, lectures and film and photography exhibitions were held.

The Rio de Janeiro project to host the Paralympic Games was presented at one of the stands of the event. The Brazilian delegation – composed of President of the Brazilian Paralympic Committee (CPB), Andrew Parsons, Rio 2016 director of the international relations, Mario Cilenti, and manager of sports, Frederico Nantes – also participated in meetings with the President of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), Phil Craven, and with members of the technical areas of the IPC. “In the Rio 2016 project, the Paralympic Games have the same standards as the Olympic Games. We are honored to participate in the celebrations of the Paralympic Day. The event promotes inclusion of people with disabilities, Paralympic sports and the promotion of values that are allied to the ideals of the Rio de Janeiro bid,” said Mario Cilenti.

During the Paralympic Day celebration, the Rio 2007 Parapan American Games were cited as a good example. After all, it was the first time in history that the event was held in the same city and used the same facilities as the Pan American Games. The chairman of CPB emphasized the importance of synergy between the Olympic and Paralympic movements. “This is the first time that the candidate cities to host the Games have participated in Paralympic Day celebrations. This demonstrates that the two movements are becoming more integrated,” said Parsons.

To promote Paralympic sports, the event had table tennis, wheelchair basketball and long jump competitions. In his closing speech, Phil Craven said that values such as courage, determination, inspiration and equality were evident in the performances of individual athletes. Brazilian representative, André Luís de Oliveira, demonstrated this by taking third place in the long jump competition (F44) with a jump of 6.37 meters, the best of his career. “I left with a sense of satisfaction, as well as improving my personal best, I helped to support the candidature of Rio de Janeiro to host the 2016 Games”, said André, who won silver medal in the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games in the 4x100m Relay, and bronze in the Rio 2007 Parapan American Games in the long jump.

Brazil has participated in all editions of the Paralympic Games since 1972. Results in the more recent editions demonstrate the growth of Paralympic sports in the country: in Sydney 2000, Brazil was 24th in the medal table, 14th in Athens 2004 and ninth in Beijing in 2008. After winning nine medals in the Paralympic Games in Beijing, the Brazilian swimmer Daniel Dias received the Laureus Awards, considered the Oscar of the sports world, the best Paralympic athlete of 2008.

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Catherine St-Laurent

Saint-Clair Milesi