Rio Paralympics flame extinguished to end Games

Fans flocked to the Maracana Football stadium for the closing ceremony of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games in Brazil on Sunday.

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

A Bulgarian athlete brings in his countries a flag during the closing ceremony of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016.

Rio said farewell to the Paralympics Sunday in a closing ceremony showcasing Brazil's love for music and celebrating what many consider to have been a surprisingly successful Games.


View of the closing ceremony of the Paralympic Games at Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on September 18, 2016.

The famous Maracana football stadium was packed, with the Paralympians themselves seated across the field, as proceedings kicked off with fireworks.

Among the first performers was Jonathan Bastos, a Brazilian who was born without arms but has become an accomplished musician, playing instruments with his feet. Then it was Ricardinho, star of Brazil's gold medal winning five-a-side Paralympic football team, who brought out the national flag.

Later, a minute of silence was to be held for Iranian cyclist Bahman Golbarnezhad, who died Saturday in a crash during the road race.


View of the closing ceremony of the Paralympic Games at Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on September 18, 2016.

Eleven days of competition where China dominated the medals table, followed by Britain, Ukraine and the United States, ended earlier Sunday with the last few events, including marathons and wheelchair rugby.


Fireworks over the arena during the closing ceremony of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on September 18, 2016.

Organizers said they had pulled off an against-the-odds success in the Rio de Janeiro Games.


In this photo released by the IOC, Nação Zumbi performs in the (Bio) Diversity segment during the closing ceremony of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games at the Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016.

"Mission accomplished," said Carlos Nuzman, president of the Rio Olympic and Paralympic organizing committee.

Referring to the political instability and deep recession weighing down Brazil as it put on South America's first Olympics in August and then the Paralympics, he conceded that it had been "a mission of many doubts."


Eduardo Paes the Mayor of Rio de Janeiro applauds as Sir Philip Craven President of the IPC hands the Paralympic flag to the Governor of Tokyo Yuriko Koike during the closing ceremony of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

Philip Craven, the International Paralympic Committee president, said the cyclist's death "cast a dark shadow" but that overall "Rio 2016 will be remembered as a successful Paralympic Games and a Games that surprised many."

Defying expectations


Brazilian athletes take part in the closing ceremony.

Also haunting these Paralympics was Brazil's political crisis. President Michel Temer, who had just taken power after his rival Dilma Rousseff was thrown out of office in an impeachment vote, was loudly booed by the crowd at both at the Olympic and Paralympic opening ceremonies.

And tensions over a ban imposed by the International Paralympic Committee on the entire Russian team because of alleged state doping remain.

Craven warned Sunday that "major change" will be needed from Russia to be allowed back into Paralympic competition.

"Otherwise the Russian team is in big difficulties,” he said.

Hot performances

The gap between the Olympic and Paralympic performances is gradually blurring with disabled athletes breaking records after records in Rio.


Brazil's Daniel Dias celebrates finishing second in the Men's 100m Breaststroke - SB4 Final at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium during the Paralympic Games, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on September 11, 2016.

Among the stars were Brazil's swimmer Daniel Dias who added four golds, three silvers and two bronzes to his existing medal haul from Beijing and London, which has won him descriptions as the Michael Phelps of the Paralympics.


Algeria's Abdellatif Baka wins the gold in the men's 1,500-meter T13 final athletics event at Olympic Stadium during the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016.

There was amazement in the 1,500m track race when Algeria's Abdellatif Baka set a new record that was actually faster than the winning time by Olympic gold medalist Matthew Centrowitz in the same stadium a month earlier. However, Centrowitz won in what was by Olympic standards a near-record slow race, meaning Baka's outstanding time was of mostly symbolic significance.


China's relay team pose with their country's national flag after winning the gold medal in the men's 4x400-meter - T53/54 final at the Olympic Stadium during the Paralympic Games.

Once more, it was China that dominated overall, with almost 100 medals more than its nearest rival, Britain, which held a comfortable second place.

The big country missing in the top section of the standings, however, was Russia, which during the London Games won 102 medals, including 36 golds.


Members of the audience sit in front of the Paralympic Cauldron wrapped in plastic against the rain during the closing ceremony of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

As the next Paralympic flame was extinguished, it officially brought the end to the first Paralympics held in South America, The next Olympics and Paralympics will take place in 2020 in Tokyo.

Source: 
TRTWorld and agencies