RIO DE JANEIRO – The Paralympics will go ahead next month despite being forced to implement further “major budget cuts” to the games in Rio de Janeiro.
Poor ticket sales have compounded existing financial challenges in recession-battered Brazil which have been impacting the Olympics, which closes Sunday.
Rio now has less than three weeks to prepare for Paralympics, the pinnacle of the disability sport calendar.
“Never before in the 56 year history of the Paralympic Games have we faced circumstances like this,” International Paralympic Committee President Philip 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.”
The IPC said it has already been imposing cuts over the last year and the fresh ones are set to affect every team and visitors to the games.
The workforce for the Paralympics will be downsized, transport services cut and media centres closed. The wheelchair fencing competition will move to a new venue, allowing the Deorodo Olympic Park to be closed and dismantled.
Grants of more than $7 million that the Rio organizers were due to make the 165 participating countries are almost a month overdue. The first athletes are due to arrive on Aug. 31 ahead of the Sept. 7-18 Paralympics.
“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,” Craven said. “The IPC is working with them to find solutions and ensure their participation here in Rio.”