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IPC calls for engagement focus following latest Rio 2016 review

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has called on Rio 2016 to focus on engaging the Brazilian public ahead of this summer’s Paralympic Games.

The IPC’s three-day project review, during which it met with the Paralympics organising committee, concluded yesterday (Thursday). Although officials were encouraged by the progress being made by organisers, an emphasis has been placed on increasing the public awareness of the Paralympic movement between now and September 7, when the Games begin.

“We are happy with the progress made by the organising committee since our last meeting, especially in light of the measures they have taken to balance their budget,” Xavier Gonzalez, the IPC’s chief executive, said.

“With six months to go fast approaching, it is now time to focus on fully engaging the Rio and Brazilian public in the Paralympic Games. The Carioca (the people of Rio) need to understand the great value of this event, especially with two million tickets costing just R$10 (€2/$3).

“The Paralympics in Rio will be the peoples’ Games, an event where the whole family can come together and enjoy great sport and a unique and unmissable experience. With the Brazilian team targeting a top-five finish, this is the public’s opportunity to come together and celebrate everything that is good about sport, society and Brazil.”

Paralympic tickets sales have been a cause for concern for Games organisers. Last month the Associated Press news agency reported that only 300,000 domestic tickets out of three million had been sold for the Paralympics.

Mario Andrada, an organising committee spokesman, told the AP in January that the Brazilian public has not yet bought into the Paralympic movement. “We have to educate, publicise,” Andrada said. “In the Paralympics we still need to show that Brazil will be fighting for the top five on the medal chart. For some here, Paralympic sport is still shocking (to those who haven’t seen it).”

The IPC will return to Rio for one more project review before the Games, which take place from September 7-18.