Eurostar becomes official carrier of Belgian and French Paralympic teams for London 2012
Tuesday, 19 June 2012
June 19 - Eurostar, the official international rail provider of London 2012, has announced details of two major partnerships with the Belgian and French National Paralympic Committees to carry athletes from both nations to and from the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
The announcement of the deal comes as the high-speed rail operator's fleet engineering team are working on a project at its depot in Stratford, opposite the Olympic Park, to create trains with full accessibility.
After consultation with the Paralympic Committees and following their feedback and advice, two Eurostar trains will undergo a series of unique modifications designed to accommodate the requirements of the teams.
Once completed, the modifications will allow the trains to carry up to 18 wheelchair users and other Paralympic athletes who have special travel needs.
"Working closely with Paralympic Committees in both countries we appreciate how important it is for the individual Paralympians to travel together as one team, which is why every area of our business has played a part turning this project into a reality," said Eurostar chief executive Nicolas Petrovic.
"The London 2012 Paralympic Games are set to be the most successful and inspiring to date.
"This represents a once in a lifetime opportunity for sports fans from across Europe to share in the excitement and we are proud to play a role bringing many of them, as well as the French and Belgian teams, to London this summer."
Using the specially adapted train, Eurostar will carry the majority of the Belgian Paralympians to London on a chartered service from Brussels on August 26 with the return journey on September 10, the day after the Closing Ceremony of the Paralympics.
Over 120 Belgian athletes are expected to travel on the service although some team members will travel to London on other services in order to accommodate their training and Games time schedules.
Meanwhile, the other Eurostar specially adapted train will take most of the French Paralympians, which will include over 170 athletes, to London on a chartered service from Paris on August 25 with the return journey on September 10.
"The Paralympic Movement is delighted about this partnership," said Anne d'Ieteren, the chairwoman of the Belgium Paralympic Committee (BPC).
"Eurostar will undoubtedly contribute to the achievement of our ambitions.
"We therefore hope that this partnership will also be a sign to the public at large: the Games are just around the corner, and thanks to our partner you are there in no time to support the Belgian Paralympic Team in their efforts to win a medal of honour."
Gérard Masson, the President of the French Paralympic Committee, also expressed his happiness with the partnership.
"We are delighted to establish this partnership with Eurostar, which will undoubtedly help our Paralympic team achieve their sporting ambitions," he said.
"This special adapted Eurostar train will invaluably allow our team to travel to London together, quickly and comfortably."
France will be one of the main medal contenders at the London 2012 Paralympics after finishing 12th on the medal table at Beijing 2008, while Belgium will be looking to improve on their position of 69th in the Chinese capital.