World Para Athletics, a litmus test before the Paris 2024 Paralympics

World Para Athletics, a litmus test before the Paris 2024 Paralympics

July 13, 2023, 8:31 AM

July 13, 2023, 8:31 AM

Paris hosts these days the World Para Athletics Championships at the Charlety stadium. Just over a year after the celebration of the Paralympic Games in the capital of France, these world cups serve as a dress rehearsal. In August 2024, 4,400 para-athletes will attend along with their staff, equipment and supporters, which is why the Organizing Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Cojop) closely follows the development of these World Cups.

The Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Cojop or OCOG in English) is especially interested in what happens behind the scenes during the competition. From the accommodation of the delegations, the transport of the athletes and the equipment, to the reception of the public. Although accommodation will be provided in the Olympic Village during Paris 2024, the current difficulties with transportation will be the same a year from now.

“Finding buses to transport the delegations is easy, but finding vehicles for people with reduced mobility is more complicated. We are aware that the country is not yet sufficiently developed in terms of accessibility. We have hotels [donde se alojan las delegaciones] They have metro stations right next to them, but we can’t use them because they aren’t adapted. And yet this could lighten the transport load.”explains Julien van Temsche, responsible for these issues in the organizing committee of the World East.

The organizers have left nothing to chance so that the para-athletes can compete in the best possible conditions. Every detail has been thought of, and so far they seem to be satisfied. “There is nothing to criticize about the organization. Conditions are ideal for performance. No delays in call rooms [antes de las pruebas] and that is very appreciable since waiting 45 minutes in a racing chair is very uncomfortable. Let’s hope it continues like this until the end of the championships”, says Nicolas Brignone, a specialist in the 400 meter T53 (wheelchair races).

Cojop is not content to be an observer, but acts directly. He has been able to take advantage of the experience gained since 2017 and the designation of Paris as the venue for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The two committees have forged a special relationship based on a win-win situation, as Adrien Balduzzi, Director of Global Operations, explains: “For Cojop, it is a large scale test. They will be able to evaluate the solutions that we have implemented and ask themselves what could be done better or differently. Many members of Cojop are present at the World Cups as volunteers or observers. We try to work hand in hand to identify the successes, but also the failures, that we will have in the coming days so that the experience of the Paris 2024 Parlympic Games is the best possible. We are working together, in particular, on the audio description of the events.”

Audio description for greater inclusion

Audio description is used for the first time in Para Athletics World Championships. The competition is vital for them, as it provides the opportunity to train around twenty students who will work in this service during Paris 2024. The goal is for them to be experts in both description and sport, so that the transcription is as accurate as possible. .

Ludivine Munos, former Paralympic swimming champion and now responsible for inclusion at Cojop, considers that this is an important but necessary challenge since “Accessibility is not only about putting ramps everywhere, but also about taking forceful measures. The races are usually commented, unlike certain jumping events, for example. It is not just about commenting, but about describing an event. So that people who can’t see can experience the atmosphere of the stadium.”

The Para Athletics World Championships Paris 2023 ends on Monday, July 17. Cojop still has a year of work ahead before the Games.

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