Rio Paralympics Ticket Sales Up To 1.6 Million As Interest Grows

September 07, 2016

The #FillTheSeats campaign - a drive to buy and donate tickets to young people - has helped to build audiences for the first Paralympic games to be held in South America which get underway on Wednesday. The effort has received donations from Coldplay and Prince Harry among many others.

When the Rio Olympics ended on August 21 only 300,000 tickets had been sold, the organizers said.

Around 40,000 tickets per day are now being sold, with the event organizers expecting to overtake Beijing's sale of 1.7 million tickets total. This would making Rio the second best-attended Paralympics behind London 2012, Craig Spence, a spokesman for the International Paralympic Committee, said.

After more than a month of delays, travel grants were being paid Tuesday for all of countries involved in the games. Some poorer nations had worried they would not be able to send athletes to Rio.

After a news conference on Tuesday, Spence said there were athletes from 159 countries on the ground in Brazil, plus two "independent" refugee athletes.

"It's helped by the fact that the Brazilian team did so well in the final weekend of the Olympics," Spence said. "It gave the Cariocas a flavor of what they can expect here in Rio with the Brazilian team chasing a top five finish in the medals table."

The games had been facing severe budget shortfalls and concerns about accessibility for the disabled athletes.

"It's impossible in the modern era to have a glitch-free games - you haven't seen any in history," Mario Andrada, the spokesman for the local organizing committee, said.

"As far as Rio 2016 is concerned, we hope to learn from the IPC as much as we learn from the IOC. We hope we can react to our glitches and, eventually, our mistakes as fast as we did during the Olympic Games," he said.

In 2015, then-Brazilian President Dilma Rouseff signed into law the Inclusion of People with Disabilities Act, which provides funding nationwide for the elimination of accessibility barriers.

"What the games need to be is a catalyst for that change to continue afterwards," Spence said.

He then offered a list of examples such as the new airport terminal and training facility for disabled athletes in São Paulo. "There is a lot of accessibility being improved around the city," he said.

The Games start on Wednesday with more than 4,300 para-athletes scheduled to take part in 22 sports.


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