How bright will the Paralympic torch shine in Rio …….31.8.16

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7 days until we embark upon the spectacle of the Paralympic Games. Once again the spotlight is on Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to see how it welcomes the world’s Paralympians who expect a first class sporting competition service, a first class transportation service and a first class village service. What will Rio provide them?

My spectator experience during the Rio Olympic Games involved long transportation waiting times. Athletes and support staff staying at the games village didn’t have TVs in their flats – I guess they needed fully charged ipods, ipads, suduko and had time to popularise the ‘Pokémon Go’ game. Whilst athletes will have shuttle transport, there is doubt these will be as frequent as expected or wanted due to the financial cuts being made across the event……. How will this affect athlete preparation?

The support from the Rio Games Makers will be 100%, even though they have incurred training cuts and have endured long working hours with few breaks and some were at venues which ran out of food. In true volunteer style, they dug deep and provided service with a smile as well as going ‘the extra mile’ to help which is even more impressive when some do not speak fluent English. Competition venues will be ready for competition, though spectators (over 100,000 tickets sold so far) may need a ‘heads up’ about a few things:

  1. Surfaces
    • pavements are made from mosaic tiles
    • paths leading to some venue include dirt tracks
    • there are lifts at Metro stations but signage to them isn’t clear
  2. Taxi
    • Write the venue address on paper (this helps with the language barrier) and get a quote before you get into he car
    • Wear your seatbelt
  3. A couple of Portuguese words
    • Boa dia – good day, Obrigada – thank you
  4. Sights
    • Visit all that Rio has to offer both day and evening
  5. Venues
    • There a re long queues for food, waiting in the heat with no shade
    • a number of venues have stairs on site, these may have been adapted for wheelchair users
  6. Transport
    • The Metro and buses are clean. Timetables are not publicised
    • Ask for a metro line map as these are not openly available
    • allow 2 1/2 hours for travel time to a venue from Copacabana or Ipanema.

I am sharing these tips to support the fans and supporters to enjoy every minute of their Rio experience and savour the sun, sounds, sights, seafood and samba. Enjoy Rio, travel around Brazil (see previous blogs for ideas), experience a culture that is different to yours. Watch athletes compete at the highest level, cheer them on and encourage them to compete at their maximum potential and show the world why the Paralympic Games is the greatest sporting spectacle and should rightly,

have the world’s light brightly shining upon it.

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