By Duncan Mackay

Rio 2016 Paralympic logo 2July 5 - There will be a record 526 medal events across 22 sports featuring more female competitors than ever before at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, it was announced today. 

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) revealed that the programme will feature 23 more medal events than London 2012, with women and athletes with high support needs the main beneficiaries.

Under plans proposed by the IPC and communicated to international federations earlier this week, Rio 2016 will see around 4,350 athletes competing.

Of the total number of athletes set to take part, approximately 1,650 will be women - a 9.9 per cent increase on London 2012 and more than double the 790 who took part at Atlanta 1996.

They will compete in 224 medal events, equating to 43 per cent of all medal events and a 12 per cent increase on London 2012, with athletics, cycling and swimming providing additional events for women.

Canoe and triathlon will be included in the Games for the first time in Rio and each sport will stage six medal events - evenly split between male and female athletes - whilst the existing 20 summer sports will feature no less medal events than in London.

Para triathlonTriathlon is due to make its Paralympic debut at Rio 2016, with six gold medals on offer

At the first Paralympic Games in Rome in 1960 there were 400 athletes from 23 countries competing in 57 medal events across eight sports. 

"In just over three years' time Rio 2016 will host the biggest Paralympics Games yet in terms of athletes and sports," said Xavier Gonzalez, the IPC's chief executive.

"Hopefully they will be our best yet building on the tremendous success of London 2012.

"As part of our development strategy we have increased the number of events for women and athletes with high support needs.

"By the time Rio comes along we will have doubled the number of female athletes competing in the Games in just 20 years which is a significant achievement."

Following the communication of the medal event numbers and athlete quotas, each international federation will now select which events fit their quota allocation and develop their Rio 2016 qualification criteria for approval by the IPC Governing Board in November.

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