October 9 – Glasgow 2014 chief executive David Grevemberg has claimed that a separate Para-Commonwealth Games for the world’s top disability athletes is a long-term possibility but admitted it is not something he thinks will happen in the near future. The Commonwealth Games have long existed as an integrated event, with able-bodied and disabled athletes competing alongside each other in contrast to the Olympic and Paralympic Games, where they compete separately.
Holding separate events for able-bodied and disabled athletes has become a more common theme in recent years, as there is now an Asian Para Games that follows the Asian Games and a Parapan American Games that follows the Pan American Games.
But Grevemberg, who served as the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) sports director for eight years before joining Glasgow 2014, suggested that such a move may still be too early for the Commonwealth Games Movement.
“In terms of the Commonwealth as a whole, I think the Paralympic Movement is still a developing concept,” he told insidethegames.
“There are obviously Commonwealth nations that have very strong Parasport programmes in place but the majority do not have that.
“It is still something they are getting to grips with and London 2012 was the first time some of the smaller Commonwealth nations were participating in Paralympic sport on an international level.
“The Paralympics has gone out there and established itself as an independent brand and that works completely.
“But the Commonwealth Games is at a different stage of its development and while a time may come for two separate events, I think a fully integrated approach works best for now.”
However, Grevemberg feels that Paralympic sport will become a far bigger element of the Commonwealth Games going forward.
Glasgow 2014 announced earlier this year that it will host the biggest ever number of Parasport medal events in the history of the Games – with 22 medal competitions set to take place across the five sports of athletics, swimming, track cycling, powerlifting and lawn bowls.
“At Glasgow 2014, it has always been our intention to offer greater opportunities to Para-sport athletes and I’m especially proud that we will offer more events and medal opportunities than any Commonwealth Games in history,” Grevemberg said.
“We saw at London 2012 the huge appetite for Paralympic sport with athletes like Dave Weir receiving huge support and I think you will see the same thing again in Glasgow.
“By having these Parasport events, we are providing the opportunity for it to grow in the Commonwealth Games Movement and I am sure that will continue moving forwards.”
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Courtesy of insidethegames