Rio 2016: Paralympics to go ahead despite ‘major budget cuts’
Rio’s Deodoro Olympic Park to be closed and dismantled ahead of the Games
International Paralympic Committee president Philip Craven has said the Games will go ahead despite ‘major budget cuts.’ Photograph: PA
The Rio Paralympic Games will go ahead as scheduled next month despite facing “major budget cuts”.
The anticipated budget from Rio 2016’s organising committee was not at the level it had originally committed to, necessitating the need to make cutbacks, according to the International Paralympic Committee.
IPC president Philip Craven said in a statement: “Never before in the 56-year history of the Paralympic Games have we faced circumstances like this.”
While the workforce will be downsized and changes made to the the transport schedule, the biggest announcement was that the Deorodo Olympic Park would be closed and dismantled.
Wheelchair fencing has now been switched to the Barra Olympic Park while equestrian, seven-a-side football and shooting will work as standalone venues.
Craven said: “Since becoming aware of the full scale of the problem, we have focused all of our efforts on finding solutions to the problems.
“At the IPC we are a relatively small but united organisation. It’s in our Paralympic DNA to see obstacles as an opportunity to do things differently and that’s what we are doing here. We are problem solvers by nature and fight for what we believe in.
“These cuts are on top of the ones we, together with the IOC, have already made in the last 12 months and are likely to impact nearly every stakeholder attending the Games.
“We are working desperately hard to protect athlete services, especially within the field of play. They have dedicated their lives to reaching these Games and we will do our utmost to try and maintain the service levels and scope that they expect at a Paralympic Games.”
With just 19 days to go until the opening ceremony, the IPC is optimistic the first installment of support grants will be paid by the Rio 2016 organising committee to the 165 competing nations, who were originally supposed to receive them at the end of July.
However, that may not be enough for 10 teams to get to the Games.
Craven added: “Currently we have around 10 countries who, even if the grants are paid, may struggle to cover the cost of their travel to the Games. The IPC is working with them to find solutions and ensure their participation here in Rio
“We want full participation here. We want all eligible countries to send their athletes to the Games. It’s what the athletes deserve and it is what the athletes want after years of training and dedication.”