Celebrations are taking place today to mark One Year To Go until the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games ©Rio 2016/Alex Ferro

Sir Philip Craven has targeted achieving a cumulative television audience of four billion for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games on a day of celebrations marking exactly one year until the Opening Ceremony.

The anniversary milestone is being marked by a free two-day Paralympic Festival alongside the iconic Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas, where rowing and canoeing events will be held during the Games.

The event, which coincides with Independence Day today in Brazil, is seeking to combine "top-level sporting action" with cultural and educational activities, music, dance and workshops with the aim of introducing Paralympic sports to the public.

Among the highlights will be an unprecedented race between leading Para-athletes from different disability classes, seeking to define who is the fastest of them all.

Ireland's four-time Paralympic champion Jason Smyth, whose world record of 10.46 seconds in the visually impaired T13 class is the fastest time ever posted by a Para-athlete, was the fastest qualifier for today's final.

He will face Brazil’s T47 amputee world record holder Petrucio Ferreira, United States' T44 world and Paralympic silver medallist Richard Browne and Australia’s five-time Paralympic champion and world record holder in the T38 cerebral palsy class, Evan O’Hanlon.

Petrucio Ferreira, Evan O'Hanlon, Jason Smyth and Richard Browne (left to right) will contest the final today ©Rio 2016/Marcelo Regua
Petrucio Ferreira, Evan O'Hanlon, Jason Smyth and Richard Browne (left to right) will contest the final today ©Rio 2016/Marcelo Regua

A five-a-side football match between world leading arch-rivals Brazil and Argentina will also be held.

“You could not ask for a more vibrant host city,” said Sir Philip, a five-time former Paralympian himself in wheelchair basketball who is in Rio for today's celebrations.

“Brazilians are huge lovers of sport, and at the festival they will get a flavour of the tremendous sporting action they can expect next year.

“Our aim is to build on the success of London 2012 and Sochi 2014, and so far the signs look extremely good.

"We have more broadcasters than ever before signed up to cover the Games and we are fully confident we will break the four billion cumulative television audience figure for the first time.”

“The Paralympic Games have developed a strong reputation for being the world’s number one sporting event for driving social change and inclusion.

"The Rio 2016 Games will change how an entire continent views and thinks about disability whilst the event will act as a catalyst to improving accessibility.”

To help mark the anniversary, the below video has been released showing how attitudes towards people with a disability are already being changed in Rio, thanks to the Paralympic Games. 

Ticket sales are also opening today for Brazilian residents, while overseas fans will have to enter into contact with the authorised ticket resellers (ATRs) in their territories.

Rio 2016 are due to publish the list of approved ATRs later this month.

In total, there should be 3.3 million tickets available - half a million more than London 2012 - with prices ranging from BRL10 (£2/$3/€2.50) for the cheapest seats to BRL1,200 (£215/$340/€300) for the most expensive.

“One year from now, at the Maracanã Stadium, we will celebrate the opening of the first Paralympic Games to be staged in South America," added Rio 2016 President Carlos Nuzman.

"We are making the final preparations to host the best Paralympic athletes on the planet.

"They will produce unforgettable moments of sporting excellence in Rio and I am certain that all Brazilians will welcome them with the warmth and hospitality that we are famous for around the world.”

Related stories
September 2015:
 Tim Hollingsworth: Why Rio 2016 is the most important Games in Paralympic history
September 2015: Sprinters vying for title of world's fastest Para-athlete as part of Rio 2016 One Year To Go celebrations
September 2015: Sir Philip confident polluted Rio 2016 venues will be "fit for purpose" with Paralympic Games just over a year away
August 2015: Paralympic festival to mark One Year To Go until Rio 2016
September 2014: Success of Rio 2016 is vital to growth of Paralympic Movement, claims IPC President with two years to go to Games