Rio Olympics 2016: Paralympics faces 'major budget cuts', worst ever financial strife

International Paralympic Committee president Sir Philip Craven has quelled fears the 2016 Paralympic Games would be called off after it was revealed the Rio 2016 Organising Committee's budget to deliver the Paralympics had fallen well short of expectations.

However, it has not prevented cuts being made, with the workforce set to be downsized, while a number of venues are due to be closed, as well as transport plans changed.

It may the pinnacle event on the disability sporting calendar, but with just 19 days until the Paralympics opening ceremony, Rio is not ready to party.

"At this point, it is hard for us to expect the full venues that we saw in Beijing or London, or expect to see in Tokyo in four years' time", International Paralympic Committee (IPC) president Philip Craven said on Friday.

"Never before in the 56-year history of the Paralympic Games have we faced circumstances like this", said Craven.

Brazil has battled a profound economic crisis in preparing for the Games.

"And I believe the performances of the Para athletes will act as a catalyst for social change".

As the host country, Brazil is responsible for most of the financing for the Olympics and the Paralympics.

Wheelchair fencing has now been switched to the Barra Olympic Park while equestrian, seven-a-side football and shooting will work as standalone venues.

But it is the non-payment of more than £6m in outstanding travel grants to participating nations that neither Craven nor Gonzalez could brush over. The IPC says it is now "working with them to find solutions and ensure their participation".

"Fix it", Craven said.

"We will be paid and paid soon", he said.

"I can assure you that that's what we're going to do here". He said Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes was barred from buying 500,000 Paralympic tickets for school children and the poor because it could be seen as a political move to influence voting.

Baroness Grey-Thompson, who has won 11 Paralympic golds, said Paralympians had hoped the Rio Games would be "another step up" from the "amazing" London Games. "They're keen to ensure these games will be the best games ever from a performance point of view, and they're determined this will still be the case despite the budget shortfall".

"Paralympians overcome barriers every day and delight us when they reach the podium, so let's rise to the occasion and meet the challenge".

The IPC did not go into the exact ways in which the budget cuts will affect the Games, but according to BBC reporter Dan Roan, Deodoro Stadium will not remain open after the Olympics end on Sunday.

Ten countries may not be able to attend the Paralympics as cash-strapped organisers announce major cutbacks.

"The Rio Paralympics can still be remembered for the achievements of disabled athletes on the track, not for budget cuts and low ticket sales".

Paralympic cycling champion Mark Colbourne has lamented the major cuts to the Rio Paralympic Games as "disappointing", as he expressed concern for the impact on the paralympic movement.



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