The 2016 Rio Paralympic Games closed last night in a ceremony that celebrated the spirit of the hosts as well as the athletes.
The Maracana Stadium witnessed a uniquely Rio-inspired send-off for athletes and spectators alike as the Paralympic adventure is set to continue in Tokyo in four years’ time.
Amidst the dancing, singing, light-shows and fireworks there was time to reflect on the sad passing of Iranian cyclist, Bahman Golbarnezhad who died from injuries sustained in a crash during the C4-5 Road Race on Saturday.
International Paralympic Committee president, Sir Philip Craven, said the movement was “united in grief”.
Craven was also warmly applauded when bestowing the Paralympic Order on the Brazilian city – his organisation’s highest honour, saying that: the Rio Paralympics were “uniquely Brazilian and wondrous”.
ParalympicsGB achieved 147 medals, including 64 gold, 39 silver and 44 bronze, second behind China with 107 golds and 239 in total. Cynics might well argue that had Russia been allowed to compete that some of those medals might have been travelling back to Moscow but in any case it was still an outstanding team performance – the best ever by a British team since 1988 and with medals won in a much more competitive sporting environment. (They also matched the highest number of gold medal sports at a Paralympics with 11, matching China at Beijing 2008.)
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