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Sep 06, 2016 07:26 PM


Federal government invested R$ 165 million in Parasports grants over a decade

Ministry of Sport sponsors more than 90% of the Brazilian delegation for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games

Brazilian Minister of Sport Leonardo Picciani said this Tuesday (6 August) in Rio that Brazil would never fail to invest in the Paralympics as much as it has invested in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. "The importance the Government attaches to the Paralympic Games is the same, or perhaps even greater, than that which it affords the Olympic Games. Because it is a theme that transcends sports, that is about overcoming one's limitations, that highlights issues that are important to society, such as inclusion and accessibility. It would be irresponsible for us not to work to ensure the Paralympic Games are just as successful as the Rio Olympic Games," the minister said in an interview given at the Rio Media Center.

The Paralympic delegation will be representing Brazil in the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games beginning on 7 September reflects the scale of the support of the Federal Government for parasport: 90.6% of the delegation received support from Bolsa Atleta (Athlete Grant) programme: Of the 289 Paralympians summoned to defend the country in Rio, 287 are beneficiaries.

The Paralympic Games will award 528 medals in 23 sports during eleven days of sporting events. Team Brazil will face the challenge of sustaining its position among the biggest Paralympic powerhouses, this time with the largest number of athletes in the history of the Games. This will be the first time the country will compete in all 23 sports that make up the Paralympic programme. In all, over 4,000 athletes from 160 countries will be competing in the Games.

For the president of the Brazilian Paralympic Committee, Andrew Parsons, the target Brazil has set to end the Paralympics among the top 5 is extremely plausible. "With the investments made in recent years, we have the right conditions to improve on the London result (when we ranked seventh) and reach fifth place. With the resources we have now and continued investment, we can reach even greater heights in Tokyo 2020," said Parsons.

According to Andrews, athletics and swimming are the sports in which Brazil has the best chances at winning medals. There are other sports in which the country may surprise, however, such as weightlifting, shooting sport and canoeing - in addition to others that were already successful in London, such as boccia, fencing and five-a-side football. "But it is the strength of the entire team that will take us to fifth place," he said.

Athlete Grant Programme

Considered the largest individual and direct sponsorship program in the world, Athlete Grant invested R$ 164.8 million in 11,700 grants to athletes with disabilities between 2005 and 2015 (including Paralympic and non-Paralympic sports). Investments made in the Rio 2016 Paralympians this year alone have amounted to R$ 14.5 million.

The athletes who receive the grant are selected based on the obtainment of good results in national and international competitions of their sport, regardless of economic status. Contemplated athletes receive a yearly amount equivalent to 12 times the amount of the basic grant defined in the programme for their category.

Athlete Grant Programme currently operates with six categories of grants: Base Athlete (R$ 370.00); Student Athlete (R$ 370.00); National Athlete (R$ 925.00); International Athlete (R$ 1,850.00); Olympic/Paralympic Athlete (R$ 3,100.00) and Podium Athlete (R$ 5,000 to R$ 15,000).

The Podium category was established in 2013 with the aim of sponsoring athletes with chances of winning medals and reaching finals during the Rio 2016 Games. In order to be sponsored in this category, the athlete must be in the top 20 of the ranking for his or her sport (or pass a predetermined test) and be referred for the grant by the respective national sports administration entities. The selection is held in conjunction with the Brazilian Olympic Committee (COB), the Brazilian Paralympic Committee (CPB) and the Ministry of Sport. During the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, the Bolsa Atleta will sponsor 93 athletes in the Podium category, 59 in the International category, 56 in the National category and 54 in the Paralympic category.

Out of the 6,152 athletes sponsored by the programme in 2016, 1,202 are Paralympians. Investment in the Paralympic programme totalled R$ 16.2 million. The podium category sponsors 103 Paralympians, with annual investments of R$ 15 million. A total of 60 other athletes competing in team sports (sitting volleyball, 5-a-side football, 7-a-side football and goalball) are sponsored by Caixa Econômica Federal (a public bank).

Investments in Paralympic sport

During the last Paralympic cycle, permanent Paralympic teams training for the Games had strong financial support from the Federal Government in a number of sports (athletics, wheelchair basketball, boccia, cycling, fencing wheelchair, 5-a-side football, 7-a-side football, goalball, weightlifting, equestrian, judo, swimming, rowing, rugby wheelchair, shooting sport, sailing and sitting volleyball).

A total of 17 agreements have been signed between the Sports Ministry and the Brazilian Paralympic Committee (CPB). Total values reach R$ 67.3 million. The investment allowed for the training of Paralympic athletes in Brazil and abroad, as well as their participation in international competitions.

The final stages of preparation were carried out at the Brazilian Paralympic Training Centre, the main legacy of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games for adapted sports infrastructure. The complex in São Paulo is the largest in the world in number of sports covered (15) and the main centre of excellence for parasport in Latin America. The Centre is managed by the Brazilian Paralympic Committee.

The Centre is also one of the main units of the National Sport Training Network, featuring 86 apartments for up 300 guests and areas for training in 15 Paralympic sports. The unit is divided into 11 sectors, including sports training areas, a hotel, a convention centre, laboratories, fitness centres and physiotherapy.

The training centre received R$ 187 million in investments from the Ministry of Sport and R$ 115 million from the São Paulo State Government. Out of the resources allocated by the federal government, R$ 167 million went to the construction of facilities and R$ 20 million went into purchasing sports equipment.

Interview - Leonardo Picciani, Minister of Sport

Rio Media Center – How does the Federal Government support Paralympic sport?

Minister Leonardo Picciani - Through the Ministry of Sport, the Federal Government is one of the main drivers of Brazilian parasport. We have signed partnership agreements with the Brazilian Paralympic Committee totaling R$67 million. In addition, lottery resources are allocated to the Committee through the Piva Law. The Brazilian Federal Savings Bank (CAIXA) is also a major parasport sponsor in Brazil.

RMC - What are the expectations for the Paralympic Games after the success of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games?

Minister - Our expectation is that the Games will be as great a success as the Olympics. We are certain that the Paralympics will be a spectacle that will excite the Brazilian population with the beauty and fierceness of the competitions, and especially with the athletes' stories of willpower and overcoming one's limitations.

RMC - How can the Ministry help persons with disabilities have more places to practise sport?

Minister - Through the National Sports Training Network, which will integrate a number of sports facilities and equipment across the country, the Ministry will encourage the practice of Paralympic sports from base to high performance. One example is the Brazilian Paralympic Training Centre, completed (and already inaugurated) in the city of São Paulo. The Centre is the main legacy of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games for accessible sports infrastructure. It is also the world's largest complex in number of sports covered (15) and the main centre of excellence for paralympic sports in Latin America.

RMC - The partnership with the Ministry of Defence has yielded good results in terms of medals during the Olympic Games. Is the Ministry considering programmes with other institutions that can also encourage new Paralympic athletes?

Minister - The partnership with the Ministry of Defence was very productive. I believe we can enhance partnerships between the Ministries of Sport and Education and also explore new partnerships with the Ministry of Health, with the latter particularly focusing on initiatives that can help prevent disease and promote active lifestyles.


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