International Paralympic Committee hails Tokyo 2020 preparations

The International Paralympic Committee has expressed its encouragement at the progress being made by the Tokyo 2020 organising committee ahead of the Games in the Japanese capital.

The IPC this week concluded its third Tokyo 2020 project review, with two days of meetings having been held with the Games’ organising committee, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the Japanese Paralympic Committee.

IPC chief executive Xavier Gonzalez praised the organising committee for the level of public engagement already been shown in the Paralympics, and tipped Tokyo 2020 to break records in terms of tickets sold.

“During our short time here we have been captivated at the visibility of the Paralympic brand around the city and on licensed merchandise,” Gonzalez (pictured) said. “The level of interest and awareness in the Games is like nothing we have experienced with three years still to go.

“To learn that more than 11,000 people attended last week’s wheelchair basketball finals and a further 52,000 were at the TMG’s No Limits Special 2017 event in Ueno underlines the growing excitement for the Paralympics.

“Such level of engagement provides a wonderful foundation from which to build as eventually we need to translate interest and awareness into ticket sales and TV viewers. London 2012 set the benchmark very high when it sold more than 1 million Paralympic tickets in the first month of sales in 2011, eventually selling 2.85 million. I am confident Tokyo 2020 can set new records in this area.”

Gonzalez urged the organising committee to consider accessibility when developing venues for the Paralympics, and, though he praised the “fantastic” work being done by the local government, stressed that it is “vital” that improvements in accessibility stretches to areas such as hotels.

“We want accessibility to be a fundamental part of the design process for all the new venues built for the Games,” he said. “As for existing venues, we hope that accessibility is not compromised and that all these facilities are brought up to speed with the requirements for hosting Paralympic sport.”

Ahead of the fourth IPC Tokyo 2020 project review in October, the IPC said it expects the organising committee to make progress on its schedule of test events, which are expected to begin in 2019. It is also hoped that the specific budget for the Paralympics is finalised by the end of the year. Gonzalez added that the venue masterplan is expected to be ready by mid-2018 with the approval of the road cycling venue.

In other news, Managua in Nicaragua has been confirmed as the host city for the second edition of the Para Central American Games. The event will take place from January 21-28, 2018 and will feature approximately 250 athletes from Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama and host nation Nicaragua.