The Summer Paralympic Games started in Japan on August 24. The opening ceremony began at 2 p.m. Moscow time at the National Stadium in Tokyo. It is broadcasted live on the Match TV channel.
Russian athletes are competing under the RPC acronym which stands for Russian Paralimpic Committee, and a white flag with the RPC emblem due to the WADA sanctions. The motto theme from Pyotr Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 1 will be played to fete the winning Russian athletes.
Russians are competing at the Paralympic Games for the first time after a 7.5-year break. The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) ruled that the Russian sportsmen were not allowed to compete in Rio 2016 because of sanctions imposed by WADA. A total of 241 Russian athletes are competing in the Japanese capital including 129 men and 112 women from 50 regions of the country.
Andrey Vdovin, a Russian parasport athlete competing mainly in category T37 sprint and middle-distance events and a triple gold medal winner at the 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships, and Elena Pautova, two-time Paralympic gold medalist and three-time World Championship gold medalist in the 1500m race, are flag bearers.
The spectacular sports event as well as competitions is held with empty stands.
There are no medal goals for the Russian Paralympians, says Pavel Rozhkov, President of the Russian Paralympic Committee. The result of London 2012, where our team won a record 102 awards and placed second in team ranking is a reference point.
We pin our hopes on six Russian rowers, including the bronze medalist of London 2012. A total of 8 athletes and 5 accompanying team members will compete in bocce, a ball sport for accuracy for athletes with neurological system disorders and spinal cord injuries. Medals in this sport are awarded in individual, pair and team competitions.
The Russian national cycling team is presented by eight athletes. Three sets of medals are awarded in this category. Sportsmen are competing on bicycles, handcycles that are powered by the user’s arms rather than the legs and tricycles, bicycles with three wheels, for patients with cerebral palsy. Chances are Russians will not win gold medals in this discipline but silver and bronze ones are more likely.
Russia sent two teams (men's and women's) in sitting volleyball. There are 24 athletes in general. Recently, both our teams were runners-up at a tournament in Holland.
Russia has also sent a team (so far a female team of six) in goalball, a discipline for the blind, for the first time. The team has to score a bell-equipped ball into the opponent's goal.
Seven Russian athletes will compete for the gold in the team classification in canoeing. There are 9 athletes in judo, including London 2012 bronze medalists Victoria Potapova and Vladimir Fedin. The archery team includes 11 athletes with locomotive disabilities. The Russian team got two quotas to participate in the Paralympics in Tokyo at the qualifying competition in the Czech Republic.
Four Russian sportsmen will compete in equestrian sport. There are more than 70 of Russians in athletics. Russia won 13 gold medals in London.
Our swimmers will also try to win medals. More than fifty of them are taking part in the competition. They are competing in breaststroke, backstroke, butterfly and freestyle as well as in relay races. Of course, it will be difficult to repeat the medal harvest in London where our athletes won 42 medals but we must try not to let our standards slip.
13 Russians will compete for medals in table tennis and wheelchair tennis. Six of them will compete in shooting, where our athletes are expected to have a medal harvest. Eight Russian awards at the recent World Cup in Peru inspired optimism. Our delegation includes three athletes in triathlon, a dozen of fencers, and a quartet of taekwondists (this is a new sport at the Paralympics).
We are expecting a successful performance of Tatiana Gureeva, who won a silver medal at the crucial international badminton tournament in Spain.
The closing ceremony of the Tokyo Paralympics will be held on September 5. The competition will be broadcast live by Match TV and other TV channels of this holding such as Arena, Igra and Strana.