Paralympics kicks off in Rio

019533090_40300Dw News : The Paralympics, which are starting in Rio with the opening ceremony and go on for 11 days, are a showcase for some of the world’s most remarkable athletes. So, let the Games begin!

The opening ceremony in Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana Stadium lasts three hours and the stadium will also host the closing ceremony on September 18.

There are six categories at the Paralympics; amputee athletes, Cerebral Palsy athletes, vision impaired athletes, wheelchair athletes, intellectual impairment and Les Autres – French for ‘the others’, which in this case is disabilities not covered by the five other categories.

For each sport there are various classifications to ensure fairness. These classifications are then assigned numbers and used to determine differing levels of functional ability.

The ‘para’ in ‘Paralympics’ stands for ‘parallel’, not ‘paraplegic’ as many people assume, because the Games are held parallel, or equal, to the Olympic Games.

Since 1988 the Paralympics have taken place during the same summer and at the same venue as the corresponding Olympics.

IOC chief absent

The president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Thomas Bach will not attend any of the Paralympics, the Games’ governing body said.

Bach cancelled attending the opening ceremony at the Maracana to remain in Germany and attend the funeral of his friend Walter Scheel, the former German foreign minister and deputy chancellor, who died last month aged 97.

Putin put out

Meanwhile, Russia also on Wednesday kicked off its own event for its athletes banned from Brazil over evidence of state-run doping.

At a glitzy opening ceremony in a concert hall just outside Moscow, Russian pop stars serenaded disappointed members of the country’s Paralympic team ahead of two days of competitions.

Russia’s team has been barred from the Games in Rio over accusations from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) that authorities in the country have masterminded and covered up drug cheating across sports.


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