|Sir Philip Craven: No plans to change Paralympic schedule|
Tuesday, 20 September 2016 15:01
by Christian Radnedge in Rio
The president of the International Paralympic Committee, Sir Philip Craven, has told iSportconnect that there are no plans to change the hosting of the Paralympics so that it comes before the Olympic Games.
Craven was speaking to iSC at the close of the Rio 2016 Paralympics. The Games officially came to an end with the closing ceremony at the Maracana on Sunday.
The build-up to the Rio Games were fraught with complications ranging from the effects of Brazil's economic and political crises to late infrastructure developments and poor ticket sales.
The problems particularly affected the Paralympics with budget cuts having to be made in the immediate weeks prior to the opening ceremony.
Craven, an iSportconnect member, famously said at the time that the issues, including late payments of travel grants to participating nations, were the "biggest crisis the IPC has faced in its 56-year history".
But despite that, ticket sales picked up remarkably, with organisers selling more than 2 million - and Craven insisted to iSC that similar difficulties could not be avoided by the recently mooted suggestion that the Paralympics be hosted before the Olympics.
"It would not have avoided them [financial issues], it would have probably made them worse" Craven said. "If we had had the Paralympics before the Olympics here, the disaster may have not been resolved.
"We have a very good relationship, a very good partnership with the IOC. We've already signed a memorandum of understanding to extend until 2032. We have the long form agreement still to negotiate and that how's it going to be for the foreseeable future.
"I don't think the IOC would want it, they don't want it - we're both very happy with how it is."
Rio 2016 was Craven's last Games as president of the IPC, as he stands down next year having served a maximum of four terms in office since 2001.
His successor will be chosen at the federation's general assembly in Abu Dhabi in September, who will then become the third president of the IPC since its formation in 1989.
In his final Games closing speech, Craven paid tribute to the "outstanding support" of the Brazilian people at the Rio 2016 Paralympics and awarded them collectively the Paralympic Order - the highest award the governing body can bestow.
There was also a moment of reflection for Iranian cyclist Bahman Golbarnezhad who died of a cardiac arrest after crashing in the C4 cycling road race on Saturday at the Games.
The Paralympic flag was then handed over to Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike, who after the ceremony promised her city would deliver a "memorable Games" in 2020.