By Tom Degun

Charlie_Huebner_Dec_15December 14 - The United States and Canada have praised the decision to include Paratriathlon and Paracanoe at the Rio 2016 Games following the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) governing board's vote to increase the number of sports from 20 to 22.

Charlie Huebner (pictured), the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) Chief of Paralympics, said: "The addition of triathlon and canoe to the 2016 Paralympic Games programme is a testament to the growth of the Paralympic Movement across the globe.

"These two sports provide excellent opportunities for people with physical and visual disabilities to be active in sport and we look forward to working closely with both USA Triathlon and USA Canoe/Kayak to ensure the United States fields competitive teams for the 2016 Games."

David Legg, President of the Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC), said: "By adding Paracanoe and Paratriathlon, the IPC has made it possible for more athletes with a disability to compete at a high performance level and represent their country.

"It also illustrates that the Paralympic Games continues to grow in size and popularity.

"As we work to become the world's leading Paralympic nation, the CPC will be working with these sports and supporting their development in order to field a winning Canadian Paralympic team at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Summer Games."

The Paratriathlon is likely to be an outstanding spectacle as it starts on the spectacular Copacabana beach.

USA Triathlon acting chief executive Tim Yount said: "We are tremendously excited to learn that Paratriathlon has been officially added to the program for the 2016 Paralympic Games, and I would like to thank the IPC for such a strong vote of confidence.

"This represents a well-deserved acknowledgement of the sport's growth and relevance on a global scale.

"Our athletes, and the organisation as a whole, have worked toward this goal for a number of years, and we look forward to the challenge of maintaining the highest levels of international performance in Rio de Janeiro."

Alan Trivett, executive director of Triathlon Canada, said: "We applaud the IPC and look forward to showcasing our sport to the world, while winning more medals for Canada, in 2016."

The Paracanoeing event is set to take place with one of the world's most recognisable landmarks - the Christ the Redeemer statue - as its backdrop.

USA Canoe/Kayak chief executive Joe Jacobi said: "Not only does the sport's addition reflect the hard and selfless work of many passionate professionals and volunteers, but it directly connects to the rising number of participants with physical disabilities coming into canoeing and kayaking, including many injured military men and women returning home from service."

John Edwards of Ottawa in Canada, chair of the International Canoe Federation's Canoeing For All committee, added: "Inclusion on to the Paralympic programme is part of CanoeKayak Canada's continuing efforts to keep re-imagining itself to be a more significant and more successful sport.

"Many members of Canoe/Kayak Canada have provided leadership in their clubs, provinces and nationally.

"They deserve an enormous amount of credit for moving this project ahead so quickly.

"We are thrilled to see canoeing take its place on the Paralympic Games program.

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