The Rio 2016 Paralympics event get underway this week with its opening Ceremony at the Maracana Stadium in Rio, the first of its kind in the Latin American continent which promises to be the biggest para event ever.
Nigerian contingent consisting of a total of 23 athletes accompanied by 12 officials including medical personnel, helpers, loaders and team administrators arrived at the games village Sunday evening as revealed by the Sports Ministry, with hopes of competing favourably in the games.
Some interesting facts have emerged and we though to share with you.
Organizers of the events have increased the number of sports at the Para-event to 22 with the inclusion of two new sports. For the first time Paralympians will be competing in events in canoe and triathlon – bringing the total number of sports at Rio to 22. In all, there will be 528 medal events across 10 days of competition.
Also for a fact, there will be more participants at the event, that is, the figure of 4,350 is more than in London 2012, and double the number that took part in Atlanta in 1996.
Six countries will make their Paralympics event debuts in Rio. This will bring the total number of participating nations to more than 160. The 2016 newcomers are Aruba, Congo, Malawi, Somalia, Sao Tome and Principe, and Togo. And a small group of refugee and asylee Para athletes will also compete as an independent team.
In terms of viewing, the Games will be seen by more people than ever before. There is expected to be a cumulative global TV audience of around 4 billion, including live coverage of a summer Games in the US and Latin America for the first time. There will be 1,800 press and media in Rio.
Wondering what the medals are made of? The 2016 medals feature braille and contain a tiny device that makes a noise when shaken. This new innovation for the Rio Paralympics will allow visually-impaired athletes to know if the medals are gold, silver or bronze.
The Rio medals are environmentally friendly, too. They were made according to strict sustainability criteria, without the use of mercury, and contain 30 per cent recycled materials.
About Tom, the official mascot of the Rio Games, He is a magic creature – a fusion of all the plants in the Brazilian forests. Tom was born out of the explosion of happiness that happened when, in 2009, it was announced that Rio would be hosting the Games.
For home fans, six Nigerian athletes will take part in para athletics, 14 in para powerlifting while three in para table tennis.