Paralympics come to close in ceremony tinged with sadness


For the second time in less than a month the Maracana was lit up by a stunning fireworks display as Rio bid farewell to the 2016 Paralympic Games with a spectacular closing ceremony.

After 11 days of action, the Games were brought to a close with a plethora of pyrotechnics, while the athletes and spectators were also treated to a variety of musical performances.

But it was a celebration tinged with sadness, with a moment of silence held for Iranian para-cyclist Bahman Golbarnezhad, who died following a crash in the men's cycling C4-5 road race on Saturday.

Paying tribute to Golbarnezhad, president of the Rio 2016 Organising Committee Carlos Nuzman, said: "I want to send a message to the athletes of Iran, our prayers are with you. We are extremely sorry for your loss."

The ceremonial Paralympic flag was handed to the governor of Tokyo, which will host the next Olympics and Paralympics in 2020, by International Paralympic Committee president Philip Craven.

Hailing the success of the Games, Craven told the crowd: "You embraced the Games and took the athletes to your hearts and they relished your support. You created a family carnival of sport and you were rewarded with incredible performances.

"The noise you created, the passion you showed and the warmth you provided inspired the Paralympic athletes to achieve what some thought was impossible.

"These Games signify a very bright future for this youthful and wonderful nation."