Physiotherapists working with ParalympicsGB athletes in Rio de Janeiro have praised facilities for British athletes despite fears that funding problems and poor ticket sales may hit this month’s Paralympic Games.
The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) announced last month that disappointing ticket sales meant the Games would be scaled back, with events taking place in smaller venues, and some transport services cut.
The CSP expressed concern that athletes may be affected by these last minute changes, but since then ticket sales have picked up and the Brazilian Government and commercial backers have increased their sponsorship of the Games.
ParalympicsGB physio Dylan Morrissey, who is at his third Paralympic Games, said facilities in Rio for the British team were ‘top notch’, following the handover from TeamGB.
‘We arrived in the village and performance centre to find ParalympicsGB facilities in great shape,’ he told Frontline.
‘Physiotherapist Caryl Becker and the sports science and sports medicine team have put together top notch facilities and processes to ensure the athletes are arriving in a village ready to receive and support them to give of their best. The handover from TeamGB has been really helpful and then a whole lot of work has been done already to get us ready to receive the athletes.
‘What is really heartening is that a responsive and honest organising committee is working hard with ParalympicsGB to make sure the delivery is as smooth and professional as possible. These represent commendable efforts to protect athletes in tune with CSP concerns but there are still likely to be cuts elsewhere, the impact of which we have not yet seen. You can be sure there are the best possible plans on the ground to reduce risk to the team.’
ParalympicsGB physio Paul Martin, added: ‘From my perspective, on the ground things aren’t as bad as have been reported and at the moment our ability to operate as a physio team has not been compromised at all.
‘As a team we have been working on contingency plans for all types of scenarios and the British Paralympic Association are maximising support to the athletes so they can perform to their greatest potential. Any changes will impact other athletes as much as our own, so we are feeling confident we are in a great position to perform at our highest level.’
Despite the initial disappointing sales, more than a million tickets have now been sold for the Paralympics, with initial allocations of tickets for triathlon, track cycling, and five-a-side football selling out.
A crowdfunding campaign launched by the IPC and the Rio 2016 Organising Committee raised enough money in just 72 hours to buy 10,000 Games tickets for Brazilian children to watch the games.
Youngsters to benefit
The youngsters, and people with an impairment, will be provided with transport, food, and a ticket to watch a Paralympic event after almost $US50,000 was raised.
A similar online campaign, launched by Manchester physiotherapist Jack Chew, has raised more than £10,000, which will be pooled with the IPC funding to buy extra tickets for Rio youngsters.
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