28 November 2021

Rio 2016 Paralympic Heritage Flame Celebration: One year to go

September 2, 2015

It is exactly one year to go before Stoke Mandeville once again celebrates its position as the birthplace of the Paralympic Movement with a celebration event to mark the lighting of a unique ‘Heritage Flame’ for Rio 2016.

The flame will be created as part of a spectacular ceremony at Stoke Mandeville Stadium held on 2 September 2016 – just five days before the Opening Ceremony  of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.  The flame will then be ‘sent’ virtually to Brazil, where it will merge with the Brazilian Regional Flames to create the Paralympic Flame that will run the relay and light the cauldron in the Olympic stadium during the Opening Ceremony.

Hundreds of invited guests, including Paralympians and representatives from community groups, will attend the special ceremony 68 years after Sir Ludwig Guttmann launched the Stoke Mandeville Games in 1948.

In February last year, the inaugural Heritage Flame was lit at Stoke Mandeville Stadium. The flame lighting ceremony celebrated the start of the winter games in Sochi and included a spectacular firework display after speeches and two specially made videos. It was the first time that a torch lighting element has taken place outside of the host nation.

Artistic director Bradley Hemmings, who was behind the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympic Games, choreographed the event. He teamed up with designer Jon Bausor to create an armillary sphere, from which Paralympic gold medallist Hannah Cockcroft created the flame.

Speaking on the night, Sir Philip Craven, President of the International Paralympic Committee, said: “From now on, and for all future Paralympic Games, Stoke Mandeville will always stage the first leg of the Paralympic Torch Relay.”

Before reaching Rio, the torch will be taken to various locations both in the local Buckinghamshire area and around the country to give young people in particular the chance to be inspired.

Stoke Mandeville’s reputation will also receive a further boost this month when it hosts the Para-Badminton World Championships. Around 235 athletes from 36 countries are set to compete in the event at Stoke Mandeville Stadium from 8-13 September.

For more information about the Para-Badminton World Championships visit www.bwfbadminton.org

The Women’s Sports Magazine

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