Vancouver issues official invites for 2010 Paralympic Games

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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VANCOUVER - Official invites to the 2010 Winter Paralympics were issued at a lavish ceremony inside a downtown Vancouver hotel Thursday night.
International Paralympic Committee president Sir Philip Craven invited all Paralympic athletes from around the world to compete in Vancouver and Whistler in March 2010, just after the completion of the Olympic Games.
Craven said he and other Paralympic committee representatives are very pleased with the readiness of the 2010 venues.
"I've had leaders from teams come to me and say such things as, 'we've never seen the Paralympic Winter Games stadia in such a state of readiness one year out from the Games,"' he said.
Craven, visiting B.C. for just the second time in his life, said accessibility for Paralympic athletes shouldn't be much of a concern in 2010.
"The first time they set foot or put their wheels down here is going to be at the airport. I was at the airport three days ago and really that airport in Vancouver is one of, if not the, most accessible airports in the world.
"So I think that's a really good sign that we're on the right track," Craven said.
Symbolic invitations were handed out to representatives from Paralympic committees in Canada, Great Britain and Russia, which will host the 2010, 2012, and 2014 Games respectively.
Sweden, the country where the first Paralympic Winter Games were held in 1976, was also honoured.
All of the other Paralympic committees will receive their invitations in the coming week.
Vancouver organizing committee chief executive officer John Furlong said he's confident the 2010 Paralympic Games will be the best ever.
When asked if he believes Canadians are fully embracing the Paralympics, Furlong left little doubt.
"I'm fully of the view that the Paralympics will sell out, just like the Olympics, that every ticket will sell and that there will be a person in every seat," he said.
"I think it's going to be a big hit."

Organizations: Paralympic Committee, Vancouver hotel, Olympic Games Vancouver organizing committee

Geographic location: Vancouver, Whistler, B.C. Canada Great Britain Russia Sweden

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