Rio: 'We can raise the Paralympic bar higher'
London's Paralympic effort has been huge but Rio de Janiero organisers promise that 2016 will be even bigger.
Last Modified: 07 Sep 2012 14:11
Iran's Ali Hosseini claimed gold in the powerlifting but Rio are looking to raise the bar on London Games [GETTY]

Rio de Janeiro will go one step further than London when the Paralympic Games come to the Brazilian city in 2016, the head of the country's Paralympic committee said on Friday.

"When we give back the flag to the International Paralympic Committee at the closing ceremony of the Rio Games, we will do so to a Paralympic movement that will be stronger than before," Andrew Parsons told a news conference in London.

This year's Games have been billed as the biggest and most high-profile since they were first held in Rome in 1960, with some 2.7 million tickets sold and athletes competing in packed venues in the British capital.

Parsons said that the success of the current Games was "no surprise" but he pledged: "We are very confident that we can raise the bar even higher than London."

Brazilian athletes have been among the stars of the Games, which opened on August 29 and close on Sunday.

"Every kid in Brazil doesn't have to dream about being Ronaldo or Pele. They can dream about being Daniel Dias or (four-time Paralympic sprinter) Adria Santos. This is very important"

Andrew Parsons

They include swimmer Daniel Dias, who has so far won four gold medals, and particularly sprinter Alan Oliveira, who sensationally beat South African star Oscar Pistorius to win gold in the T44 200m last Sunday.

The nation's footballers have again made the five-a-side final and are looking to defend their unbeaten record since the sport was introduced to the Paralympics in 2004.

Parsons said they would play a major role in promoting disabled sport in Brazil as well as transforming perceptions about and access for people with disabilities across the country.

"We're in a country where we still have a long way to go in terms of social inclusion for people with disability," he told reporters.

"Maybe by 2016 we will not have a perfect country for persons with a disability but it (the Paralympic Games) is a big push. What sport has done for persons with disability is having role models for kids. It's amazing.

"Every kid in Brazil doesn't have to dream about being (legendary footballers) Ronaldo or Pele. They can dream about being Daniel Dias or (four-time Paralympic sprinter) Adria Santos. This is very important.

"When you have disabled athletes as heroes, they're part of society. They're another element of what we call society. This is a big legacy that can come from the Games."


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