By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – With less than 21 days to go before the start of the Paralympic Games, organizers are scrambling to obtain extra funding and sell tickets to the competition events. The International Paralympic Committee has been holding meetings with both city and federal Brazilian officials so that additional funding may be obtained for the Games.
“If no extra funding is available then the Organizing Committee will have to implement further cuts to the Paralympic Games, on top of the cuts we have already made alongside the IOC and Olympics,” IPC President Philip Craven told reporters earlier this week. IPC officials however, believe that the financial situation of the September events is serious, rumors of cancellations are not true.
“Although the situation is pretty precarious, rumors that the Games may not go ahead or that sports may be cut are totally unfounded and not true. Our aim right now is to bring in additional funding and resources in order to deliver the Games at the service levels expected by all stakeholders, most importantly the athletes,” added Craven.
Craven along with other IPC executives have met with Rio’s mayor, Eduardo Paes, and were given guarantees that the city will come through with the extra funding. According to Craven, Paes promised R$150 million to ‘ensure the success of the Games’.
In addition to financial problems, ticket sales for the Paralympic Games have been disappointing According to Paralympic Game organizers only about 300,000 of the 2.5 million tickets (twelve percent) put on sale for the event, which runs from September 7th through 18th have been sold.
City officials hope that the success of the Olympics, currently being held in Rio, will encourage both Brazilians and foreign tourists to purchase Paralympic competition tickets on the eve of the start of the event.