Gledson Soares, the first Paralympic swimmer from the state of Rio Grande do Norte, closed the Torch Relay in Natal at a special ceremony ©Rio 2016/Saulo Pereira Guimarães

The Rio 2016 Paralympic Torch has visited the city of Natal in northeastern Brazil as it continues its journey around the host country ahead of the Games’ Opening Ceremony here on Wednesday (September 7).

Among the Torchbearers in the capital of the state of Rio Grande do Norte were several Brazilian Paralympic medal-winning athletes, including Francisco Avelino, the winner of three swimming medals in four Games appearances from Sydney 2000 to London 2012.

Also taking part were Para Pan-American powerlifting champion Maria Rizonaide and swimmer Genezi Andrade, who competed at five Paralympic Games and won a bronze medal in Barcelona in 1992.

They were joined by local residents who are said to have dedicated their lives to helping people with an impairment.

Gledson Soares, the first Paralympic swimmer from Rio Grande do Norte, closed the Torch Relay in Natal at a special ceremony.

"It's really emotional to know I was part of history," said Soares, who won bronze medals at Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000.

"I haven't swum for four years, but today felt like the closing of my career."

After beginning in the capital, Brasília, and visiting Belém on Friday (September 2), the Torch Relay is due to travel to two more cities - São Paulo and Joinville - before arriving in Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday (September 6), the day before the Opening Ceremony at the Maracanã Stadium.

In each city visited so far, the Torch Relay has celebrated Paralympic and Rio 2016 values.

In Brasília, it was equality, while it was determination in Belém and inspiration in Natal.

Transformation will be celebrated in São Paulo followed by courage in Joinville and passion in Rio.

On Friday, a special Paralympic Heritage Flame was lit at a ceremony held in Stoke Mandeville, the birthplace of the Movement. 

This Flame was subsequently sent "virtually" to Brazil, where it will merge with the Brazilian flames at a special ceremony in the Museum of Tomorrow in Rio on Tuesday.

The event at Stoke Mandeville Stadium in England was watched by around 1,400 people and was attended by a number of legendary British Paralympians, including Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson and Kelly Gallagher, winner of the country's first-ever Winter Paralympic gold medal at Sochi 2014 in the women's visually impaired super-G.