Tokyo Games Can Usher In 'New Era' For Disabled Sports, IPC President Says
IPC President Andrew Parsons said that the Tokyo 2020 Games are expected to usher in a "new era" for Paralympic sports and "serve to foster understanding in Japan of people with disabilities," according to Ryotaro Nakamaru of KYODO. Parsons said, "I really think that the Games will be a catalyst for a new era for Paralympic sports here in Japan, and also for the perception by Japanese society toward people with impairments. I think this can be the biggest legacy." Parsons said that public awareness of sports by disabled athletes had grown "exponentially" in Brazil after the Rio 2016 Olympics, which he "helped execute as the head of the Brazilian Paralympic Committee." Parsons met with the organizing committee of the Tokyo 2020 Games after visiting South Korea, host of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Games. Asked "what path North Korea had to take to participate" in PyeongChang, Parsons said that if its athletes do not attend qualifying matches, "we also always have the possibility of granting them wildcards." He said, "We spent three days in (South) Korea, and it became clear to us how important it is for the South Korean government and for (the organizing committee) that we have a North Korean delegation there." Regarding the participation of Russia in PyeongChang, which the IPC banned from competing after a '16 report by the World Anti-Doping Agency found evidence of state-sponsored doping, Parsons said that the IPC was "waiting for the WADA board meeting next month to make a decision" (KYODO, 10/19).