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The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has announced that the Rio 2016™ Paralympics are set to feature more female athletes than ever before, whilst the overall program will include 23 more medals events than at London 2012, with women and athletes with high support needs the main beneficiaries. Under plans proposed by the IPC and communicated to international federations this week, Rio 2016™ will see around 4,350 athletes competing in 526 medal events across 22 sports.
Of the total number of athletes set to take part, approximately 1,650 will be women - a 9.9 per cent increase on London 2012 and more than double the 790 who took part in the Atlanta 1996 Games. They will compete in 224 medal events, equating to 43 per cent of all medal events and a 12 per cent increase on last summer, with athletics, para-cycling and swimming providing additional events for women.
Paracanoe and paratriathlon will be included in the Games for the first time in Rio and each sport will stage six medal events – evenly split between male and female athletes – whilst the existing 20 summer sports will feature no less medal events than in London.
Xavier Gonzalez, the IPC’s Chief Executive Offer, said: “In just over three years’ time Rio 2016 will host the biggest Paralympics Games yet in terms of athletes and sports. Hopefully they will be our best yet building on the tremendous success of London 2012. As part of our development strategy we have increased the number of events for women and athletes with high support needs. By the time Rio comes along we will have doubled the number of female athletes competing in the Games in just 20 years which is a significant achievement”.
Following the communication of the medal event numbers and athlete quotas, each international federation will now select develop their Rio 2016™ qualification criteria for approval by the IPC Governing Board in November. The Rio 2016™ Paralympic Games will take place between 7-18 September 2016.