Paralympians ready to light up Rio

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Athletes from all over the world are ready to bring an end to negative headlines about the Paralympics by putting on another Rio extravaganza during 11 days of competition.

Just as was the case with the Olympic Games, much of the talk ahead of the Paralympics has been over concerns about organisation, funding, ticket sales and whether Russian athletes would be able to compete.

Only three weeks ago it was revealed just 12 per cent of tickets had been sold for the Games for what will be the fifteenth summer Paralympic Games, which start on Wednesday.

However, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) this week predicted that the 2016 Games will be a sell-out, with over 1.5million tickets snapped up and the governing body hopeful the remainder will be purchased.

The IPC imposed a blanket ban on Russian athletes following allegations of state-sponsored doping made in an independent report commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Athletes from Russia failed with attempts to overturn at that verdict, which IPC president Philip Craven said was made "in the best interests of the Paralympic Movement."

Craven said the issues surrounding the Games were the most difficult to deal with in Paralympic history after it was revealed major budget cuts had been made.

The IPC confirmed less than three weeks before the opening ceremony at the Maracana Stadium that local organisers had slashed the original planned budget for the Games.

It was announced cuts were to be made to the workforce, transport and venues, while 10 countries had been struggling to finance sending teams to Brazil because of the late arrival of National Paralympic Committee grants from the event's organising committee.

Craven has maintained that he expects the Games to be the best ever in terms of athletic performance, surpassing the show which those who were there to see or tune into the Paralympics in London four years ago were treated to. 

Action in 23 sports and 528 events is expected to reach a cumulative global audience of four billion for the first time in just over a week-and-a-half of competition.

There will be 225 medals won by women, 265 by men and 38 mixed medals dished out during what promises to be another inspirational Paralympics.

Irish multiple world and Paralympic champion Jason Smyth, Cuban double Paralympic champion Omara Durand, Great Britain's Jonnie Peacock and home favourite Alan Oliveira are among the stars on show on the track on Friday.

Triathlon will be on the schedule for the first time in the Paralympics at Fort Copacabana, while canoeing will also make its debut on the stunning Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas.

Syria-born swimmer Ibrahim Al Hussein and Iranian discus thrower Shahrad Nasajpour are refugees who will compete for an Independent Paralympic Athletes (IPA) team.

American Matt Stutzman, dubbed the 'armless archer', will attempt to add to the silver medal he won in London, while 10-time Paralympic gold medallist Daniel Dias is one to watch in the pool for the host nation.

New heroes are also set to emerge in what should be a special September in Rio.