By Tom Degun

rio 2016_05-01-12January 5 - Representatives from the British Paralympic Association (BPA) have returned from their first official visit to Rio de Janeiro as part of their preparation for the 2016 Paralympic Games.

The delegation, led by BPA performance director Penny Briscoe, travelled to the future host city to scout the key venues and locations for the Rio 2016 Paralympics and to meet with both the Rio 2016 Organising Committee and the Brazilian National Paralympic Committee.

"Whilst we are clearly working very hard on preparation for London, it is absolutely crucial that we look beyond [2012]," said Briscoe.

"We are already working closely with our winter sports and planning for the next Winter Games in Sochi in 2014 and then of course the focus will be Rio.

"This trip has given me a good insight into what we can do over the coming months to begin preparing for the 2013-2016 cycle so that, when the flame goes out at the Closing Ceremony in London, we have our plans for the next Summer Paralympics already in hand."

Britain have finished second on the overall medal table at the last three Summer Paralympic Games after superb performances at Sydney in 2000, Athens in 2004 and Beijing in 2008.

They are aiming for another top two finish at the London 2012 Paralympics but Briscoe warned that Britain must continue to prepare as thoroughly as possible in order to continue to be successful at the biggest disability sporting event on the planet.

"Every Games has its own unique challenges," she said.

"For Beijing we had to ensure all our preparations, particularly in regards to handling the heat, humidity and hydration, were spot-on and for London we are working through the challenges unique to a home Games.

"This trip was invaluable for us to start to understand what we will face in Rio.

"It was also tremendously exciting to hear first-hand from the Organising Committee about their plans.

"Already, five years out, it gives me goose bumps to think of what the Games will be like there.

"It's a fantastic place for the Games to be moving onto."

Tim Hollingsworth, BPA chief executive, added that Rio 2016 is a major priority for his organisation despite the huge media attention on London 2012.

"A substantial part of my remit is to ensure that the BPA is in a strong position after London so that we can look forward to more medal success in Sochi and in Rio," he said.

"Penny's recce is an important part of getting our plans underway in earnest."

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