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Toronto "best prepared city yet" to host Parapan Am Games: officials

03/12/2015 01:11 EDT | Updated 05/12/2015 05:59 EDT
TORONTO - Toronto is the "best prepared city yet" to host a Parapan Am Games, officials said Thursday after touring venues and meeting with the host committee.

Executives from the International Paralympic Committee and the Americas Paralympic Committee spent three days in the city and were satisfied that venues were ready and the right plans were in place with five months to go until the Aug. 7-15 Games.

The fifth Parapan Am Games follow the July 10-26 Pan American Games in the Ontario capital.

"The Toronto plans and of course the venues and all the preparations are the most advanced and most clear for our Games since the first edition of our Games," IPC chief executive officer Xavier Gonzalez said. "It means we are now feeling very confident that in this last stage everything we had to discuss and everything our athletes need for the Games will be in place as was promised and planned by Toronto 2015."

About 1,600 athletes from 28 countries will compete in 15 para-sports. Tickets for the Parapan Am Games go on sale March 23.

Canada's goal is to finish among the top three countries in overall medals. The host team will be led by Montreal swimmer Benoit Huot, who owns 19 medals and nine of them gold.

Brazil is expected to send a strong team in preparation for the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro. The country's swim star Daniel Dias, who won a record 11 medals at the 2011 Parapan Ams in Guadalajara, Mexico, has confirmed he'll compete in Toronto.

Toronto's readiness has multiple advantages, according to Gonzalez. The host committee, TO2015, has time to spend working through "what-if?" scenarios.

"The fundamental advantage is in these last few months before the Games, the focus of the organization can be in preparing in itself for the operations of the Games," the Spaniard said.

"We have been looking into potential situations and how we will resolve them during the Games. That type of planning is the one that needs to happen in these last few months and Toronto is at that place."

Toronto is demonstrating that a city can prepare well in advance to run both multi-sport Games in the same summer, he added.

"I think Toronto, in our view today, has already raised the bar in many areas, but at the same time has created a model to follow in how to organize the most efficient way possible the two Games together in the context of the Americas region," he explained.

"That's not only an example for this region, it is an example we, I think, the International Olympic Paralympic committee will take to other regions of the other worlds where similar events are now being considered or organized."

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