Badminton player Rômulo Soares and wheelchair tennis player Maria Fernanda Alves exchange the flame (Photo: Rio 2016/Andre Luiz Mello)
The Rio 2016 Paralympic Torch Relay began on Thursday (1 September) in Brasília. Bathed in sunshine, the flame set off from Parque da Cidade and passed by various landmarks in Brazil's capital city before returning to its starting point for the day’s closing ceremony.
As well as Brasília, the itinerary for the torch relay includes four other cities – Belém, Natal, São Paulo and Joinville – before its arrival in Rio de Janeiro on 6 September, the day before the opening ceremony at the legenday Maracanã Stadium.
Social media users across the planet can help virtually 'light' the flame each day by sending tweets using the hashtag #ParalympicFlame. On www.rio2016.com, users can see which regions are sending the most positive energy on a heat map.
In each city, the relay will celebrate the Paralympic and Rio 2016 values: in Brasília, it was equality; in Belém, determination; in Natal, inspiration; in São Paulo, transformation; in Joinville, courage; and in Rio de Janeiro, passion.
(Photo: Rio 2016/Andre Luiz Mello)
The first torchbearer was Cláudio Silva (above), who plays in an amputees football team and won a gold medal in sitting volleyball at the 2007 Parapan-American Games in Rio. Sports-mad, he also does archery.
"I'm a sporting nomad," he said. "I always wanted to take part in the Paralympic Games so this is a dream come true".
In Brasília, the flame also visited the Cultural Educational and Professional Institute for People with an Impairment (ICEP), the Training Centre for Special Physical Education (CETEFE) and the Centre of Special Education for the Visually Impaired (CEEDV).