Paralympic mascot Tom is looking forward to welcoming local kids to the venues of Rio 2016 (Photo: Rio 2016/Alexandre Loureiro)
Rio 2016 is supporting a global campaign that is raising funds to help 10,000 Brazilian youngsters attend next month’s Paralympic Games.
Rio 2016, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and the Agitos Foundation, the IPC’s development arm, gave their full support on Tuesday (30 August) to the #FillTheSeats campaign.
It is being run parallel to a joint initative by Rio 2016 and the Rio state government to provide 33,000 tickets to local students, under the leadership of Transforma, the Rio 2016 education programme.
The FillTheSeats campaign was launched last week by Greg Nugent, the former London 2012 marketing director, and is being supported by leading Paralympians such as Tatyana and Hannah McFadden, the wheelchair racing sisters from the USA.
It originally aimed to raise US$15,000 to send 500 youngsters to the Games.However, after raising over US$20,000 in just one week, Rio 2016 and the IPC have asked the campaign to stay open so that more tickets can be bought for locals as a gift from the world.
Carlos Nuzman, President of Rio 2016 said: “Our job is to organise great Paralympic Games in Rio but also to ensure all people have access to attending the Games. This initiative will certainly help us achieve that aim."
The IPC and Rio 2016 have confirmed that up to 10,000 tickets can be purchased by the campaign at a price of US$30 each, which will include transport and food. All funds are being donated to the IPC and the Agitos Foundation, which will use the money to take Brazilian children and people with an impairment to the Games.
As of Monday, more than one million tickets for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games had been sold, out of a total of 2.5 million tickets available.
The Transforma team will manage the #FillTheSeats campiagn in Rio and will target children from across the state of Rio de Janeiro. Their journeys will be co-ordinated and facilitated by a team of trained staff.
Any surplus or unspent funds from the campaign will be donated to legacy projects in Brazil and South America focused on sport for people with an impairment.
Rock band Coldplay, who performed at the London 2012 closing ceremony, have thrown their support behind the campaign via Twitter.
Xavier Gonzalez, IPC chief executive officer, said: “This campaign proves the Paralympic spirit is global and the idea of Brazilian youngsters and people with an impairment going to the Paralympic Games is inspiring.
“We have decided to support #FillTheSeats because all money raised will be spent on taking people who maybe cannot afford a ticket to the Games. We want them to be part of history and part of Latin America’s first Paralympic Games.
“We encourage the whole Paralympic Movement and the world to get behind and support this campaign.”
The Rio 2016 Paralympic Games start on 7 September. Prices for tickets range from 10 reais (about US$3) to 130 reais.
The glorious setting of Copacabana beach will host the first ever Paralympic triathlons in September (Photo:Getty Images/Buda Mendes)