By Amelia Fisher-Starzynski, Paris, France, May 30, 2017: Less than a year after the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, France has welcomed the international Paralympic family for the Handisport Open Paris 2017. A total of 456 athletes representing 32 nations are competing at Charléty Stadium across two days, bringing together close to 10,000 spectators to celebrate and share in this exciting, world-class sporting event.
Organised by the Fédération Française Handisport (FFH), this is the first time the Paris Open has appeared on World Para Athletics Grand Prix after it was added to the calendar at the start of the season. It is one of nine stages of the competition overseen by World Para Athletics and is a key qualifying step for the upcoming London 2017 World Para Athletics Championships (14-23 July).
On 30th and 31st May Paris’ Charléty Stadium hosts the Handisport Open Paris 2017, the newest addition to the World Para Athletics Grand Prix calendar.
The Grand Prix event includes 14 disciplines and will feature many medal-winning athletes from Rio as well as up and coming athletes carrying with them the hopes of the next generation. After the great success of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, which captivated 13.6 million French people during 100 hours of broadcast by national public broadcaster France Télévisions, this competition is expected to further establish public support for para-sport in France.
Since the inception of the bid, Paris 2024 has worked with Olympic and Paralympic athletes to develop its concept for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games as a single project that addresses the challenges of all athletes and all sports.
Cyril Moré, four-time Paralympic champion in wheelchair fencing, is a member of the Paris 2024 Board of Directors. Marie-Amélie Le Fur, three-time Paralympic champion in para athletics, is co-chair of the Athletes’ Committee alongside Teddy Riner, Olympic champion in judo.
Michael Jeremiasz, Paralympic champion in wheelchair tennis and flag bearer in Rio, Marie Bochet, four-time Paralympic champion in para alpine skiing, and David Smétanine double Paralympic champion in para swimming also hold positions on the Athletes’ Committee. All have collaborated at each stage of the bid, in particular on the following three themes:
• Improving access conditions and practice of sport for all
• The development of accessible facilities
• Changing the perception of impairment in society
During the Handisport Open Paris 2017, Paris 2024 will reinforce the key pillars of its bid around Paralympic sport using education to engage with Generation 2024, drive awareness and enhance the perception of para-sport in France.
If Paris wins the right to host the 2024 Games, football 5-a-side will take place on the Champ de Mars and para-triathlon in front of the Eiffel Tower, while Esplanade des Invalides will host archery and the Grande Halle de La Villette will open its doors to para-powerlifting. Paris 2024 will offer ideal conditions for all Paralympic athletes with 90% located within 30 minutes of their competition venue and a 100% accessible village.
Marie-Amélie Le Fur, Co-Chair of the Paris 2024 Athletes’ Committee and three-time Paralympic Champion, said:
“The Paris Handisport Open and Paris 2024 are showcasing the performances of Paralympic athletes while raising awareness and changing perceptions around impairment in France. Attitudes are changing and we want these major competitions, like the Games, to act as a powerful catalyst for pushing the boundaries even further in French society and beyond.”
Tony Estanguet, Paris 2024 Co-Chair and three-time Olympic champion, said:
“The Handisport Open in Paris is the last international Paralympic event to be held in France before the 2024 Host City is named in Lima in September. It is a great opportunity for us to celebrate para-sport in the heart of the city and to embody today the promise of Paris 2024: to give the Paralympic Games and its athletes a prominent stage and to share with the world the values of sport for all.”
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