With the Tokyo Paralympic Games barely over on Sunday, September 5, attention is now turned to Paris. Tony Estanguet, the boss of the Organizing Committee for the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, has returned from Japan “Amazed by the sporting emotions and the level of the Paralympic champions”. He wishes “Capitalize on the exceptional results of the France team”, who, with 54 medals including 11 gold in Tokyo, is doing better than in Rio (28 medals, 9 titles) and returns to his performances in London (45 medals, 8 titles) and Beijing (52 medals, 12 titles).
The athletes are eager to defend their chances three years from now in front of their home crowd. Because the presence of spectators in number will be “An essential point of the success of Paris 2024”, according to Alexis Hanquinquant, Paralympic triathlon champion in Tokyo, who already dreams of seeing “Supporter buses” come from his Normandy to support him in the defense of his title.
And for people with disabilities, last but not least, there is no question of turning off the spotlight on the good results of French Paralympism in Tokyo. The organizers of Paris 2024 say they want to promote parasport and the place of disability in society. “The Paralympics will allow us to make a leap towards a much more inclusive society”, insisted the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, on Friday at a press conference.
The accessibility of the metro in question
This requires in particular better accessibility for people with disabilities to means of transport. In Paris, everyone thinks of the metro, built at a time when the issue of disability did not arise. Very few stations are suitable. No chance, however, of seeing the entire underground network accessible to people in wheelchairs and visually impaired people in three years. No time and too expensive.
Anne Hidalgo’s team says it wants to focus by 2024 on the main metro stations, “A dozen in all” – which form the nodes of the network – including those serving Parisian stations. The project must be carried out in coordination with the Ile-de-France region, the State and the network operators (RATP and SNCF). The timing is tight. All the more so as the campaign for the presidential election could prove not to be conducive to decision-making.
“There is room for improvement in order to better embark millions of French people”, admits Tony Estanguet
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