By Tom Degun

International Paralympic Committee logo(3)December 11 - The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Governing Board has today made the historic decision at a meeting in Guangzhou in China to increase the number of sports at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games from 20 to 22 with the Paratriathlon and Paracanoe added to the existing programme.

In July this year the seven sports of badminton, canoe, golf, powerchair football, taekwondo, triathlon and Intellectual Disability (ID) basketball submitted applications to the IPC to be included in the Summer Games programme in 2016.

All applications, together with the 20 existing sports, were reviewed and evaluated by the IPC and a recommendation presented to the Governing Board to make their decision before they voted in favour of maintaining all 20 existing sports in the Rio 2016 programme before deciding to increase it by two with the addition of Paratriathlon and Paracanoe

IPC President Sir Philip Craven, a said: "I would like to thank all seven sports for submitting applications to the IPC to be included in the summer Sports Programme.

"All sports, including those involved in the current Programme, were assessed against the same criteria during a lengthy process which started in the second half of 2009.

"Congratulations must go to Paracanoe and Paratriathlon who have been admitted to the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games programme alongside our 20 existing sports.

"We look forward to working with them over the coming years to manage their smooth transition into the Sports Programme in time for 2016.

"For those sports that were unsuccessful, we will offer to meet each one individually to offer feedback on why they were not included and what steps they can take to present a stronger case should they decide to apply for inclusion again in future years."

After a discussion about each application, the IPC Governing Board took part in a series of votes.

The first vote found the ten-strong Governing Board unanimously in favour of maintaining all 20 existing sports in the Rio 2016 Programme.

A second vote saw the group then decide to increase the number of sports in 2016 - seven were in favour and three against.

The Board were then invited to vote on the recommendations provided to them by the IPC Management Team that only Paracanoe and Paratriathlon should be considered for inclusion in an expanded Sports Programme.

The Board found in favour by six to four.

The process to determine the sports programme for Rio 2016 started in the second half of 2009 when the IPC approached the International Federations governing the 20 existing sports.

All submitted letters of intent indicating their interest in positioning their sports in the 2016 Programme.

At the same time the IPC also gathered letters of intent from International Federations who expressed an interest in adding sports.

All sports were then asked to complete a series of questionnaires which included minimum eligibility and competition proposal, as well as provide documentation on subjects including World Championships results, Rules and Regulations and Membership directories.

In addition new sports were asked to complete an organisational infrastructure questionnaire and classification code self-audit.

In total 11 members of the 14 strong IPC Governing Board, the supreme authority of the IPC, attended the meeting in Guangzhou which was held prior to the start of the Asian Para Games tomorrow (December 12).

As IPC Chief Executive Officer Xavier Gonzalez is ineligible to vote and Alan Dickson, Dato' Zainal Abu Zarin and Miguel Sagarra were unable to attend; only 10 members of the Governing Board were able to take part in the secret ballot.

These were President Sir Philip Craven, vice president Greg Hartung, athletes' representative Robert Balk and Members at Large Jose Luis Campo, Ann Cody, Rita van Driel, Ali Harzallah, Hyang-Sook Jang, Patrick Jarvis and Andrew Parson.

The Rio 2016 Paralympic Games will take place from September 7-18, 2016.

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