New era as Parsons wins IPC presidential race to succeed 'legend' Craven
Brazil’s Andrew Parsons was today elected president of the International Paralympic Committee at the governing body’s general assembly in Abu Dhabi.
It only took one round of voting for Parsons (pictured) to claim an absolute majority of 84 votes and be elected as the IPC’s third president, beating off rival candidates Canada’s Patrick Jarvis, Denmark’s John Petersson and China’s Haidi Zhang.
Parsons replaces Great Britain's Philip Craven, who stood down from the presidency after 16 years in the role.
The Brazilian Paralympic Committee president paid tribute to his predecessor, calling him a “legend”, “mentor”, “an example” and an “absolute colossus.”
Commenting on his election, Parsons said: “I am absolutely delighted and I don’t know what to say. I would like to thank the IPC membership for their trust. Throughout my campaign I think I have explained what I plan to do as IPC President and the membership understood and gave me their support.
“Now it is time to roll up the sleeves and work really hard with the membership and the new governing board.
I think the election, winning in the first round, shows very strong support from the membership. It shows they trust me and I am really delighted.
“Going forward, the relationship with the IOC is going to be key. We have some very important decisions ahead; sport is at a difficult moment at this time and we have many things in common that we have to fight for. It is fundamental that we work together, co-operate and I am sure we will do that.”
Parsons led a relatively quiet campaign compared to his rivals who had worked hard to communicate their manifestos to the media.
Petersson, who received 19 votes, had highlighted healing the wounds left behind from the continuing suspension of the Russian Paralympic Committee as the focus of his prospective presidency, while Zhang, who was Parsons’ closest rival with 47 votes, focused on expanding the Paralympic movement.
Jarvis, the former president of the Canadian Paralympic Committee, said he wanted to “bring a different culture to the movement” but he only received 12 votes.
New Zealand’s Duane Kale was elected IPC vice-president, narrowly defeating Petersson by 81 votes to 79.
Parsons brings a wealth of experience to the IPC presidency having held senior roles at his national and regional Paralympic committees.
He also contributed to the organisation of the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and has served as the chef de mission or deputy chef de mission at 12 separate Paralympic competitions.
Craven said he leaves the IPC having transformed the body from a “disability sports organisation to one of the most highly respected sports organisations in the world.”
The IPC said yesterday that “under Sir Philip’s watch, the IPC has developed a reputation for strong governance and integrity, growing Para sport globally and staging sport events that transform and enrich the lives of millions of people around the world.”
The body noted that the Paralympic Games have now been “repositioned as a high performance sport event attracting millions of spectators and billions of TV viewers.”