Paralympics torch relay rolls off in Brazil

Brasilia, Sep 2 (IANS) The torch relay for the 2016 Summer Paralympics, an event in Rio de Janeiro that will bring together more than 4,000 para-athletes from 163 countries, began its journey around Brazil.

The trek on Thursday began in this capital city, which is finally regaining a semblance of normality after several weeks of tension surrounding the impeachment trial in the Senate of suspended President Dilma Rousseff, who was voted out of office on Wednesday, reports Efe.

Physical education teacher Ulisses Araujo, a pioneer in Brazil in the training of athletes with disabilities, lit the flame before it was carried around Brasilia.

Before the flame arrives in Rio de Janeiro, a total of 745 torchbearers will carry it inside the cities of Belem, Natal, Sao Paulo and Joinville, a journey of about 250 km (155 miles).

Michel Temer, who was sworn-in as Brazil’s new President after Rousseff’s definitive ouster, received the flame in a ceremony last week.

Temer, who has already confirmed his participation in the Paralympic Games’ opening ceremony, moved up that torch-reception event due to his plans to travel to China for the G-20 Summit, which will take place on Sunday and Monday in Hangzhou.

The athletes, meanwhile, have begun arriving in Rio de Janeiro, a city where various infrastructure projects have been carried out in recent years to facilitate the mobility of the Paralympic Games’ participants.

A total of 1 million tickets have been sold thus far for the Paralympic Games, whose opening ceremony is scheduled for September 7.

–IANS

pur/vt

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