The President of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Sir Philip Craven has said the Parapan American Games which open in Toronto on Friday (7 August), will be a good indicator of whether or not the Canadian city can mount a successful bid for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
His comments come after organisers confirmed that a number of sessions for the Parapan American Games, which will feature 15 sports, have sold-out even before the Opening Ceremony.
More than 1,600 athletes from 28 countries are in Toronto for the fifth and biggest ever edition of the Parapan American Games where all sports will act as qualifiers for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
Sir Philip said: “The Toronto 2015 Organising Committee have done an excellent job so far; they are the best prepared ever for a Parapan American Games and have done superbly in promoting the event to the public.
“If Toronto is serious about staging the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2024 then this event will certainly be a good barometer of how successful any potential bid could be.
“Toronto needs to follow-up a hugely successful Pan American Games, with an equally fantastic Parapan American Games too. Doing so would send a very clear message to the global sporting community that this is a city with a desire and a hunger to stage two of the world’s biggest sporting events in 2024.
“There can be no louder message than venues full of cheering spectators supporting athletes from all nations. The people of Toronto could be the launch pad for a successful Olympic and Paralympic bid and their support could be the difference between a Canadian athlete winning a silver or gold medal.”
On Thursday, the Toronto 2015 Organising Committee announced that Friday’s Opening Ceremony is practically sold-out, as are the finals of wheelchair rugby, boccia singles and men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball. Both days of track cycling at the CISCO Milton Velodrome are also sold-out as are some days of football 5-a-side and sitting volleyball.