International Paralympic Committee (IPC) News Box…..

IPC News Box, The 15th International Paralympic Committee (IPC) General Assembly came to a close in Beijing, China on Sunday (11 December) with members receiving a review of the last Paralympic Winter Games as well as updates on the next four editions of the Games. Dena Coward, former Director of Paralympic Games at the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Games, started proceedings giving a review of the last Paralympic Winter Games.

She spoke about how Vancouver 2010 had delivered many Paralympic firsts and that targeting youth had been an integral part of the Organizing Committee’s strategy to help change perceptions of people with a disability and deliver the best Winter Games ever. “At Vancouver 2010 our aim was not to talk about athletes with disabilities but athletes with abilities,” said Coward who highlighted that the Games had received more TV coverage then any ever before, and were the first to be broadcast in HD.

Over 300 hours of coverage to a global audience of 1.58 billion viewers, whilst 10 rights holders distributed pictures to 33 countries. In Canada around one third of the nation (33 million) watched the Games. A total of 84% of tickets for the event were sold making them the most successful and well attended Paralympic Games ever.

In closing Coward said: “We created Paralympic fans and an appreciation of Paralympic Sport. “We reached or exceeded the goals we had set ourselves.”

The next Paralympic Winter Games will be held in Sochi in 2014 and President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Organizing Committee for those Games Dmitry Chernyshenko was next up to present to the General Assembly. He opened by saying “Sochi 2014 has given Russia a unique chance to change for the better, and we are taking that chance,” before giving updates on the Sochi 2014 sports programme, venues, transportation, accommodation, and the Organizing Committee’s desire to deliver an accessible Games.

“The creation of a barrier free environment is priority number one for us. It has been approved by the Russian government and more than 20 states are now involved in projects,” stated Chernyshenko. To ensure this, Sochi 2014 has integrated best practice from previous Paralympic Games into their efforts to deliver the most convenient Games ever. Sponsorship revenue for the Games now exceeds 99 million US dollars, which Chernyshenko said underlined the health of the Paralympic Brand in Russia. The Organizing Committee now boasts 600 staff and test events for the Games will start in February 2012 through until September 2013.

“Sochi 2014 is holding more than the Paralympic Games. It’s an inspirational project for the millions of people with a disability who live in Russia. We want to change their lives,” said Chernyshenko who outlined that Paralympic awareness, accessibility and inclusiveness were three key priorities for his team. “The Russian government is taking unprecedented steps to improve the lives of people with a disability in Russia. Sochi 2014 is the catalyst for this,” he concluded. Sebastian Coe, Chairman of the London 2012 Organizing Committee (LOCOG), followed Cherynyshenko to tell members about the progress of London 2012 which starts in just 262 days time.

Coe was joined by colleagues Chris Holmes, Director of Paralympic Games Integration and Piers Jones, Sport Competition Group Manager and said he was proud to be bringing the Games back to where they began, referencing Stoke Mandeville. He paid tribute to Paralympics GB Chair Tim Reddish for his help in ensuring athletes remain at the centre of LOCOG’s work. “Our focus has not changed,” said Coe. “Athletes are the heart of everything we do.”By placing them at the centre, you have to get so many other things correct.”

According to statistics presented by Coe, more than one third of people believe the Paralympic Games will bring about a breakthrough for the way people with a disability are viewed in UK. Over half believe the Games will show the world how to treat people with a disability with respect and equality. London 2012’s reach also impressed delegates. Domestically its education programme `Get Set’ is now immersed in 21,000 UK schools, equating to 68% of the total number, while Inspiration International has reached its target of engaging 12 million youngsters in 20 different countries in sport.

“Our big challenge over the next eight months is scaling up the organization to deliver a Games of great complexity,” said Coe who highlighted that LOCOG’s workforce is now increasing by 120 employees a month and will eventually reach a total of 6,000 people by the start of the Games. Chris Holmes said International Paralympic Day, which was held on 8 September and secured worldwide media coverage, had resulted in some spectacular ticket sales for the forthcoming Games “In the first ticket window we shifted over one million tickets. Many sessions and some sports are sold out.

“Cycling at the Velodrome sold out, Wheelchair Rugby sold out, Wheelchair Tennis sold out. “On 2 December when tickets went back on sale, 15,000 tickets were sold in the first 15 minutes.” Members were updated on the Paralympic torch relay, the popularity of Games mascot Mandeville – who appears on 40% of London 2012 merchandise, venues, test events, operational planning and pre-Games training camps.

A video message from Carlos Nuzman, President of the Rio 2016 Organizing Committee, started Rio 2016’s presentation before his colleague Agberto Guimaraes, who was in Beijing, detailed the Organizing Committee’s ongoing activities. This included an event held in September to mark five years to go as well as last month’s stunning emblem launch. Guimaraes also updated members on venues – which will be located in four zones, stakeholder management, Paralympic integration and Rio 2016’s communications plan.

The final update of the day was given by Dongo Hoo Moon, Secretary General of the Pyeongchang Organizing Committee for the 2018 Games. The Organizing Committee was only inaugurated one and a half months ago however; Dongo Hoo Moon said he was committed to Korea delivering the best Paralympic Winter Games ever. The IPC General Assembly is the supreme governing body of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and meets every two years. It determines policy for, and sets the fundamental directions for the development of sports for athletes with an impairment.

2. IPC Honours Good and Great at Paralympic Awards Gala in Beijing:

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) honoured the top athletes, officials, media and contributors to the Paralympic Movement in the last two years on Saturday evening (10 December) at the Paralympic Awards Gala in the Intercontinental Hotel ballroom in Beijing, China.

The awards are proudly partnered by Allianz, the IPC’s international partner. In the Paralympic Sport Awards presentation, it was a German double, as the IPC named alpine skier Gerd Schoenfelder the Best Male Athlete and German nordic skier Verena Bentele the Best Female Athlete for their performances at the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games.

Bentele stood atop the podium in Biathlon (3km Pursuit, 12.5km Pursuit) and Cross-Country Skiing (15km Freestyle, 5km Classic Style, Sprint Classic Style), racking up her total Paralympic Games medal count to 16.

“I think that’s the best an athlete can do,” Bentele said of her performance in Vancouver. “That’s one of the very, very few moments as an athlete where I did everything right.” Schoenfelder picked up five medals in his sixth Paralympic Winter Games, winning gold in Downhill, Super G, Giant Slalom and Super Combined and silver in Slalom to increase his total Paralympic Games medal haul to 22 and 16 golds. “It feels really good,” Schoenfelder said of winning the award. “It is certainly a big honour to get this wonderful award. After 20 years of serious sport, this award is the perfect culmination.” Both Bentele and Schoenfelder announced their retirement this year.

Japan’s Ice Sledge Hockey squad was named the Best Team after picking up a shock silver medal in Vancouver, and Ukraine’s Olesksandra Kononova was awarded with the Best Paralympic Games Debut after winning three gold and a silver in Nordic Skiing. Switzerland’s Christian Egli was named the Most Exemplary Paralympic Games Official after his stellar work as the IPC Technical Delegate for Cross-Country Skiing and assistant for Biathlon in 2010. The Gala also included the presentation of the IPC Paralympic Media Awards for coverage of the Vancouver Games.

Jeff Crow of Australia’s Sport the Library won the photography category for his image of Australian sit skier Shannon Dallas competing in the Slalom event. Gary Kingston from Canada’s Vancouver Sun won the written category for his stories on both Canadian athletes and international heroes at Vancouver 2010 – all of which were reported in a thorough, fair, balanced and enlightening manner.

He provided readers with background information on athletes and human interest stories, and capped off his time at the Games with a story on how Canada’s best-ever Paralympics may serve as a launch pad for the next generation. Sky Sport New Zealand won the broadcast category after capturing the true spirit of the Paralympic Games, in particular with its extraordinary coverage of alpine skier Adam Hall.

The live coverage of Hall’s gold-medal race captured the entire nation, and the network also produced live coverage of the Opening and Closing ceremonies, post-race interviews, medal presentations and a daily primetime 55-minute highlights programme. The Gala concluded with four dedicated individuals receiving the Paralympic Order – the highest tribute a person connected with the Paralympic Movement may achieve.

Paralympic Order recipients included: Matthias Berg, seven-time Paralympian and involved member of the German National Paralympic Committee (NPC); Luca Pancalli, president of NPC Italy Nabil Salem, former president of NPC Egypt and the African Paralympic Committee; and the late Randy Snow, four-time Paralympian and devoted member of the International Tennis Federation (ITF).

For further quotes from the award winners, please contact

3. Paralympic Movement’s Best Times Still to Come” Says IPC President:

International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President Sir Philip Craven has opened the 15th IPC General Assembly in Beijing, China, by saying the Paralympic Movement is in good health and that its best years are still to come. More than 300 people from National Paralympic Committees (NPCs), International Federations, International Organizations of Sport for the Disabled (IOSDs) and Regional Organizations are in the Chinese capital for the event which takes place every two years.

In his speech to members Sir Philip Craven stated that the Paralympic Movement had coped well during the global financial crisis, had continued to flourish, and was now ready for what lies ahead. “If Beijing in 2008 marked the moment the Paralympic Movement grew up and the world took notice, then I believe the coming years will see us grow in maturity and captivate billions as our athletes continue to inspire and excite the world,” he said.

“We can feel rightly proud of our achievements so far, however, we should feel a greater sense of excitement about what we still have to achieve together.” At the start of his 40 minute long address, Sir Philip praised the IPC Governing Board which met last weekend and was elected at the 2009 General Assembly in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

He then spoke of his pride in the IPC Strategic Plan 2011-2014, before highlighting how the last two Paralympic Games underlined the need for the whole Paralympic Movement to work together in increasing participation at all levels across the globe.

“The Beijing Paralympic Games had a record 3,951 athlete, however more than half came from just 11 of the 146 competing countries,” he pointed out. “In Vancouver, despite a record 502 athletes taking part in 64 medal events, it averaged out at less than eight competitors per event.” In reviewing the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games, he described them as the biggest and best Winter Paralympics ever, before he looked ahead to the next four editions of the Paralympic Games.

Sir Philip Craven said: “The signs are that London 2012 has the potential to match and potentially surpass what we achieved here in Beijing. “More than one million tickets have already been sold for the Games, a record so far away from the Opening Ceremony. “The job now is to sell the remaining tickets before the Games. It would give us all great pleasure if we could announce for the first time ever that the Paralympic Games are a sell-out weeks in advance.

“Already in Sochi we are seeing some significant changes taking place in Russian society. The work they have undertaken in creating a barrier free law in Russia is a significant step for which they are to be congratulated.” He described the newly unveiled Rio 2016 Paralympic Games emblem as “beautiful, and the best yet,” and spoke of his delight that all three cities bidding for the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games, which were awarded to PyeongChang, had made the Paralympics integral to the success of their bids.

Thanks to six new National Paralympic Committees in the last two years, together with three new International Federations, he said the IPC now had 192 members and that more sport was now being played than ever. “The Movement is now bursting with sports,” said Sir Philip. “This year alone, despite there being no Paralympic Games, at least one major international or regional sporting event has taken place every two weeks.”

The IPC President since 2001 also discussed the IPC’s ongoing relationship with the International Olympic Committee and the IPC’s desire to secure a deeper and broader partnership with them. He said: “Without the IOC’s support, the IPC would not enjoy the position in which we find ourselves today. We are all grateful to the IOC and its President Jacques Rogge, as well as his predecessor, the late President Juan Antonio Samaranch, for their continued support of the IPC and the Paralympic Games.

“Complex, but extremely positive negotiations, have been ongoing for a number of months and our aim is to finalise an agreement in the near future.” Volunteers, officials, classifiers, members as well as the IPC’s staff at its HQ in Bonn, Germany, were also credited for their efforts in the last two years. “We have a dynamic team capable of taking the IPC and the Paralympic Movement to the next level of our exponential growth,” he commented.

The IPC General Assembly is the supreme governing body of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). It determines policy for, and sets the fundamental directions for the development of sports for athletes with an impairment. It will continue tomorrow, when it will conclude nine days of activity in the city that staged the best ever Paralympic Games in 2008.

Sir Philip Craven’s full speech from the 15th IPC General Assembly can be found at

4. IPC Athletics Seeks Host Cities for Four More International Championships:

Following the exciting announcement of the 2013 International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Athletics World Championships in Lyon France, and the 2012 IPC Athletics European Championships in Stadskanaal, the Netherlands, IPC Athletics is now inviting potential host cities to show an expression of interest for four more major international championship events.

The IPC is inviting cities to express their interest to participate in the bid process for the 2015 and 2017 IPC Athletics World Championships, in addition to the 2014 and 2016 IPC European Athletics World Championships. The deadline for expression of interest is 2 March 2012.

These two events are some of the biggest para-sport competitions around the globe. The European Championships typically draw around 500 athletes from 40 countries, while the World Championships garner as many as 1,500 athletes from nearly 120 nations.

Click here for the World Championships Application:

Click here for the European Championships Application:

For more information, please contact IPC Athletics Manager Ryan Montgomery at or

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