With only a day to go before the opening ceremony of the 2012 Paralympic Games the finishing touches are being made to venues as London prepares to host what promises to be the biggest and best Paralympics ever.
The first Paralympic officials began arriving just five days after the Olympics ended and organisers have had just 16 days to make the necessary changes to the Athletes village and Olympic Park.
Olympic Park architects, Populous, designed the athletes village and Olympic stadium with the Paralympics in mind, meaning the Park will only require minor adjustments to make it ready for the opening ceremony tomorrow. The Park has been built with accessible toilets, ramps and parking spaces in all venues.
Among the wheelchair accessible vehicles being used to transport Games participants and officials is a fleet of Peugeot Horizon wheelchair cars, manufactured by Allied Mobility and supplied to the Paralympic organisers by Motability.
The specially adapted Paralympic Park will house 4,200 athletes from 165 nations. Rooms within the village have been fitted out to cater for wheelchair access and wheelchair-using athletes. The Olympic Stadium will also have its wheelchair seating capacity increased, up from 364 at the Olympics to 568 at the Paralympics.
Chris Jopson, from Populous, commented: “All of the venues were designed to be inclusive and accessible, which has meant a minimal transition in the two weeks between the Olympic and Paralympic Games. It’s a different Games with a different brand, and there’s been a big programme to change the look of the Park.”
Games venues and vehicles have been decorated with the Paralympic Agitos – red, green and blue swoops representing the Paralympic moto “spirit in motion”. The symbol has also replaced the giant Olympic rings on Tower Bridge and in Trafalgar Square.
The level of interest in the 2012 Paralympics Games has already exceeded expectations with over 2.2 million of the 2.5 million tickets available being sold. With interest at such a high level organisers are confident this will be the most successful Paralympic Games yet.