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Budget issues leave Paralympic equestrian venue unconfirmed

Furst famous and Lisa Martin - Photo credit Roger Fitzhardinge

Lisa Martin and First Famous are part of Australia's Paralympic equestrian team.

© Roger Fitzhardinge


By Equestrian Life

Existing financial challenges have led to deep budget cuts for the Rio Paralympics (Sept. 7-18).

As the Olympics came to a close over the weekend, it has emerged that recession-battered Brazil will be reducing the Paralympic workforce, restricting transport and dismantling an entire venue in the lead up to September 7th.

The venue to be closed is Deodoro Olympic Park - home to a number of events, including the equestrian.

To date, no replacement venue has been announced for the Paralympic riders; the only confirmation is that they will be competing at an unspecified standalone venue.

Although organisers had intended to build upon progress made at a well-attended Paralympic Games in London, financial strain appears to be making the task all but impossible. Organisers in Rio have reported sales of just over 290,000 tickets, which accounts for around 12% of all available tickets.

Further compounding issues is the fact that grants of ~$7million - which the organisers were due to pay certain participating nations - are almost a month overdue. It is believed that these late payments could jeopardise the Paralympic campaigns of ten nations who may not be able to afford travel costs should grants not arrive on time.

The head of the International Paralympic Committee, Philip Craven, stated that never in its 56-year history had the Paralympic Games faced these sorts of circumstances.

Let’s hope that a comparable venue with suitable facilities is found soon for the Paralympic equestrian competitors. As with all athletes competing, they have worked so hard and sacrificed so much to reach the pinnacle of their sport and deserve to compete in a setting befitting of their achievements.


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