“Beijing can do for the Paralympic Winter Games what it did for the summer Games in 2008 and take the event to a whole new level.” Said International Paralympic Committee (IPC) president Andrew Parsons in an interview with Xinhua.
The interview is part of the activities around the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, with one year to go from today. The Brazilian expressed confidence in both summer and winter Paralympics in the next three years.
As one Olympic Games’ debriefing will be held in the host city of the next Olympic Games, the PyeongChang 2018 Debrief was held in June 2018 in Beijing.
“Preparations are going very well indeed. I was greatly impressed at what I saw last year when I met with the leadership of the Organizing Committee,” said Parsons, “I think Beijing can do for the Paralympic Winter Games what it did for the summer Games in 2008 and take the event to a whole new level.”
The confidence is based on Beijing’s experience as the host of the 2008 Games. “Beijing’s big advantage is that many people within the country know what to expect when the Paralympic Winter Games come to the city. There has been an excellent transfer of knowledge with people involved in the 2008 Organizing Committee and at various regional cities, regional and national government.”
“I feel with the Paralympic Winter Games we are building on the excellent foundations that were created in 2008 and further things such as accessibility and disability awareness. We are not starting from ground zero, like we were in 2001.” He added.
The 2022 Games will focus on gender equality, as the Games will feature a maximum of 736 Para athletes and there will be a maximum of 234 slots for women. If all slots are taken, it will represent a magnificent growth on the 133 women who competed at Pyeongchang 2018. There will also be 39 medal events for men and 33 for women.
He also witnessed China winning its first-ever Winter Paralympic medal with gold in the wheelchair curling final of the 2018 PyeongChang Games, describing it as “a very special moment”, and “showed how determined the nation is to do well at winter sport”. He also mentioned the progress of China’s Para snowboard team and Para ice hockey team.
The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games will kick off after exact 365 days, he also expressed the optimism about the Games. “I am certain the Games will be the best yet in terms of sporting performances and, with record global TV audiences and massive crowds set to watch the Games.”
“Preparations for the Games are going really well. All the venues are on schedule, the Paralympic village with its sensational city views is looking absolutely stunning, and I know that when Para athletes arrive next year they will feel at home in Tokyo. With such conditions, athletes will be happy and happy athletes perform to the best of their abilities.”
“The biggest challenge is likely to be the heat and humidity however Tokyo 2020 and Tokyo Metropolitan Government has a very strong heat countermeasure plan which is currently being tested during ongoing Test Events.” He said.