September 13 - Andrew Parsons, the President of the Brazilian Paralympic Committee (CBP) who is running for vice-presidency of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), has said that current President Sir Philip Craven is the best person to lead the organisation for the next four years.
Sir Philip, who became IPC President in 2001 when he succeeded inaugural leader Robert Steadward of Canada, is currently looking to secure a fourth and final term at the elections in November but is facing the challenge of fellow Briton Alan Dickson who is also going for the post powerful job in world Paralympic sport.
However, IPC member Parsons told insidethegames that although he has nothing against Dickson, who is President of the Cerebral Palsy International Sports and Recreation Association (CPISRA), he "doesn't work with the possibility of Sir Philip not being re-elected" as he has "proven to be the best person to lead the organisation".
"I strongly believe he [Sir Philip] will be re-elected for another term, this is what I want to see happening," Parsons added.
"I think Philip has been a great President for the organisation since 2001.
"This would be his last term, and he has led the IPC through amazing change over the last years.
"He deserves four more years to consolidate this change and put the IPC on a different level.
"We have a more relevant organisation, we are more organised, we render more services to our members than before Philip.
"I strongly believe he will be President for the next four years and there is no doubt that he is the best choice to lead the organisation.
"I'm 100 per cent sure he will be re-elected."
Similarly, Parsons believes he is the best person to serve as vice-president under the IPC's new or re-elected leader for a four-year term and outlined his vision for the future should he be elected.
"We are in a very special moment, maybe the best moment ever for the Paralympic Movement after the London Games," he explained.
"Now we are looking to Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020.
"What we need to do is take advantage of that momentum and create a mechanism or permanent structure to benefit the whole membership of the IPC.
"We are a stronger organisation before media, before sponsors, before Governments, so we have to take advantage of that to benefit the Movement as a whole.
"Not only the IPC but all of our members.
"We have to be able to transfer these exceptional moments.
"We will only have a strong Movement if we have strong members.
"We need to have stronger members in the five regions of the world.
"We need a stronger brand, particularly in nations where there is no NPC [National Paralympic Committee]."
Parsons says his role in leading his own NPC through a period of significant development, evidenced in the nation's medal success at the Paralympics under his command - Brazil secured 21 golds at London 2012 to the 16 won at Beijing 2008, puts him in a strong position in the lead up to the IPC elections, which will take place at the 2013 general assembly in Athens on November 24.
"This is what we did in Brazil, that is why I think I am the person to support Philip in this next four years as vice-president," he told insidethegames.
"Fifteen years ago, Brazil was exactly where the majority of our members are today, with a lack of resources, problems in the identification of talent, and the recruitment of athletes.
"What we did was take advantage of a good moment and built on that moment to create a more robust NPC.
"Not only a strong NPC but also to create a permanent pathway to benefit the athletes.
"We had an increase of our funding, increased our exposure, we became more known but we focused all the benefits to the athletes.
"So this is what we have to do with the IPC.
"As the IPC we have to be the one's knocking on doors to make the Movement better known and more relevant so we can offer NPCs a mechanism to develop themselves."
Parsons also did not rule out the possibility of eventually running for Presidency of the IPC, but insisted that he focused on his role as the leader of the CBP and on his candidacy as vice-president for now.
"There is always a possibility," he said.
"Philip will be in his last term in 2017 so a new President will be elected.
"But I would like to focus on my campaign now.
"If I'm elected and I'm a good vice-president then it might put me in a position to run.
"It depends on the membership and how they evaluate my work as vice-president [if I am elected]."
Parsons is running against Barcelona 1992 Paralympic gold medallist Ann Cody of the United States for the position of IPC vice-president.
Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]
August 2013: Britons go head to head for International Paralympic Committee Presidency
July 2013: Briton challenges Craven for IPC President
July 2013: Brazilian Paralympic President Parsons running for IPC vice-presidency
June 2013: IPC President Sir Philip backed by Britain for re-election
April 2013: Sir Philip set for re-election as IPC President after Athens named to host General Assembly