Paralympics 2016 Under Immense Pressure Due To Budget Cuts, Poor Morale, And Russian Bans

Paralympics 2016 Under Pressure

Paralympics 2016, an important sporting event for athletes with disabilities, is already running into trouble by causing inconvenience to the participating sportspeople.

In addition to winning the bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics, Rio de Janeiro, the former capital of Brazil, had proudly won the bid to host the 2016 Paralympics as well. Large cities like Tokyo, Chicago, and Madrid lost out to Rio de Janeiro in their efforts to clinch the prestigious opportunity to host both the Summer Olympics and the Paralympics in 2016.

However, recent reports suggest that the organizers managing the Rio Paralympics have embarked on an exercise that will help them to cut costs due to Brazil’s current economic crisis. Recent budget cuts reveal that the organizing committee is reducing costs by closing a venue and curtailing the planned workforce and that they are also saving money by reducing transportation expenses.

In fact, the organizing committee has delayed the payment of travel grants to the participating countries and fears that 10 out of the 165 participating countries will have to cover their own airfares. Ideally, the hosting organization needs to have deep pockets and a well-developed infrastructure to plan and host the event impeccably. However, the ongoing economic crisis has sent the organizers scrambling to get the sporting event back on track.

Even though it is suggested that the cash-rich International Olympic Committee and other wealthy nations should do their part to mitigate the financial crunch, the onus of making the event a success ultimately lies with the Brazilian authorities. According to the BBC, Sir Hugh Robertson, the Vice-President of the British Olympic Association, stresses that the Brazilian government needs to take moral responsibility for the matter.

“My guess is that if this goes wrong they will be in breach of the host nation contract so they are morally and legally obliged to do things.”

In yet another setback, the organizers have failed to pique the interests of sports enthusiasts who would normally pack the stadiums and arenas to cheer the competitors. The ABC reports that the struggling economy and public apathy are threatening the success of the upcoming Paralympics 2016 because only 300,000 tickets have been sold out of the total 2.4 million tickets available.

Organizers had the aim of selling 2 million tickets before the Paralympics 2016 games commence, which means that organizers have a huge task in front of them if they are to achieve their target.

And like any another sporting events, the Rio Paralympics 2016 has already had its share of controversy. According to the ABC, the International Paralympic Committee has banned Russian Paralympians from participating in the Paralympics 2016 because of the widespread doping culture prevalent amongst many of the athletes of the country, particularly evident during the recent Olympic Games.

It has already been established that the sporting culture in Russia had been corrupted due to the unscrupulous practices existing in the country. In short, the Paralympics 2016 authorities are of the opinion that it will not be appropriate for the Russian athletes to bring their sporting culture to the Rio Paralympics 2016 as it would go against the ethos of the games.

Even though it is facing stiff opposition from many quarters around the world, an adamant Russia has refused to abide by the International Paralympic Committee’s decision and is contemplating challenging the ban by appealing to the international Court of Arbitration for Sports.

Despite the odds clearly being stacked against them, the challenges and the controversies surrounding the upcoming games have failed to upset the spirit of enthusiastic Paralympians who are used to fighting difficulties throughout their lives. According to the ABC, a hopeful Philip Craven, the President of the International Paralympic Committee, remains determined that the Paralympics 2016 will run smoothly.

“Paralympians are resilient people, and the staff teams that back them up, and our Paralympic family will pull together.”

[Composite image containing photos by AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, AP Photo/Chuck Burton, AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti]