ANDREW PARSONS: “WE ALREADY FEEL THE ENERGY OF PARA ATHLETES”
The president of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) attended the Parapan American Torch Lighting Ceremony, which is the first step on the road to the Parapan American Games.
The president of the highest governing body for the Paralympic movement worldwide, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), arrived a few days ago to Lima and participated in the Parapan American Torch Lighting Ceremony held at the Pachacámac Temple, officially opening the Games surrounded by a historical and sporting mysticism.
“We already feel the energy and eager to start competitions and see the athletes participate, but a ceremony like this, which is deemed to show the host country’s culture and history, is a delight, as it is part of the Games magic,” said the Brazilian sports authority.
The Parapan American Torch Relay will stir up the emotions of all Peruvians, who will witness the participation of the best Para athletes of the Americas; athletes who will shine under the Flame.
Parsons was also present at the Pan American Games Opening Ceremony, where he witnessed the elation generated by the great work and efforts made. He is confident that such will be the case for the last chapter of Lima 2019.
“We were surprised by the top-level events delivered by Lima. The Pan American Games were a success. I was at the Opening Ceremony and it was wonderful, so I’m confident that you have prepared something very special for the Parapan American Games Opening Ceremony. It is very special to be finally here, after all the efforts invested by COPAL and Lima in these Games. We are here to enjoy the Games together.”
He also highlighted that IPC’s expectations for Lima 2019 include –apart from fantastic results inside the field, records broken and the unforgettable moments that Para athletes will experience– the qualification of many athletes to Tokyo 2020.
“This is something crucial to IPC and APC; that most athletes can consider these Games as a step in their path to qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. Lima 2019 will include 13 qualifying sports, ensuring that all the countries of the Americas will bring their best athletes and a higher level of competition. This is also important for beginning athletes, as they will compete against the best,” he stated.
Parsons was able to contrast the venues with his past visits and said that their current conditions are impressive.
“I still remember when the Village was in its earliest stage, but now it is fully completed with the corresponding services implemented. Being able to be with the athletes in the dining hall and ask them how they feel about the operations and seeing them very happy and dazzled by the quality of service offered is great... The venues are fantastic. We are all very happy,” he said.
He also highlighted that, thanks to the legacy left –specifically– by the Parapan American Games, many changes will occur and Peruvian Paralympic sports will take a great leap forward.
“Society, the government bodies and people with an impairment will get more involved in sports and Lima will be able to host more international events in the future, as the city already has top-level facilities. The venues are also located very close to or in the middle of low-income communities, which is crucial for the Games legacy. It is not necessary to practice a high-performance sport, but to make sports a part of your life, so you can get more involved in Peru’s society.”