By Tom Degun

ParacanoeDecember 12 - The International Triathlon Union (ITU) and the International Canoe Federation (ICF) have stated their delight at being accepted into the Paralympic Games.

The two sports will debut at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games after the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) made the decision at the IPC Governing Board meeting in Guangzhou in China, ahead of the Asian Para Games in the city, to increase the number of sports in the world's biggest disability competition from 20 to 22 by adding both to the programme.

Marisol Casado, ITU President and International Olympic Committee (IOC) Member, said: "The ITU is deeply honoured to join the Paralympic Family and have our inspirational Paratriathletes compete alongside the remarkable Paralympians from around the world.

"On behalf of the ITU, I would like to thank IPC President Sir Phil Craven and the Governing Board members.

"I am confident Paratriathlon will contribute to the Paralympic Movement and inspire people and youth worldwide.

"It has been a long road to reach this milestone but we know the real work begins now as we dedicate our efforts to delivering spectacular Paratriathlon competitions in Rio 2016."

ITU has supported the development of Paratriathlon for more than 15 years and has held Paratriathlon World Championships every year since 1995.

Sarah Springman, the ITU vice-president and Executive Board Representative to the ITU Paratriathlon Committee, said: "Today's Paralympic Games invitation from the IPC is the culmination of years of dedication and commitment to the development of Paratriathlon.

"Our long-held ambition has come true.

Paratriathlon"We would like to thank the members of the IPC and everyone who has contributed to the bid, including our Paratriathletes and triathletes, our National Federations, passionate supporters and, of course, our hardworking Paratriathlon Committee led by Grant Darby and our invaluable staff liaison member, Thanos Nikopoulos."

Britain's world and European Paratriathlon champion Faye McClelland, said: "Having the opportunity to compete at the Paralympic Games has been a dream of mine for many years.

"The Paralympics is the ultimate accomplishment for disability sport and I am absolutely motivated and excited by the potential to race along the Copacabana in the Paralympic Games in Rio in 2016."

Meanwhile, Jose Perurena Lopez, President of the ICF, said: "This has been a key strategic project of the ICF over the last two years and we are delighted with this result."

Making it into the Paralympic programme was the ultimate goal of the ICF and John Edwards, chair of the ICF's Canoeing For All Committee who lead the Paracanoe Project stated: "The ICF has pulled off a minor miracle by achieving this result in such a short time.

"Twenty-eight federations from all five continents participated in the 2010 ICF Canoe Sprint World Championships in Poznan."

The ICF-led application for inclusion was made in partnership with the International Va'a Federation and its President Charles Villierme stated: "This is a great day for paddlers throughout the world.

"The collaboration and strong positive working relationship with the ICF has given Va'a paddling a huge boost world-wide."

"We look forward to an even higher number in 2011 in Szeged and beyond.

"Indeed, we are always moving forward!"

The seven sports of badminton, canoe, golf, powerchair football, taekwondo, triathlon and Intellectual Disability (ID) basketball seven sports formally submitted their bid 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.

The ten-strong Governing Board 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.

Phil Lane, chief executive of ParalympicsGB, offered his congratulations and said: "We welcome the inclusion of triathlon and canoeing to the 2016 Paralympic Games.

"The sports have demonstrated a strong case and we welcome the expansion of the Paralympic family to include them."

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