Malawi Paralympic Committee (MPC) has said International Paralympic Committee (IPC)’s arrangement to provide free-to-air coverage of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games to 49 sub-Saharan African countries will help raise more awareness about sport for people with disabilities.
The Games commence on Tuesday in the Japanese capital and the coverage will be provided as part of Para Sport Against Stigma project with funding from UK Aid.
Taonere Banda will represent Malawi at the competition in 400 and 1,500 metres categories. MPC President James Chiutsi said they are excited that Taonere will perform before a bigger audience because of the arrangement.
“It has always been our wish to create more awareness on the need for increased participation in sport for people with disabilities. We believe that the free-to-air coverage will help more people with disabilities to join the sport. We are therefore working with IPC on the project,” Chiutsi said.
Loughborough University London, IPC and University of Malawi are leading the initiative with support from global law firm Hogan Lovells.
Loughborough’s Lead Investigator for the project Jo Tacchi said, in the next weeks, they will be examining broadcast production, audience perceptions and community engagement around the broadcasts in Malawian communities with the aim of informing planning for Paris 2024.
IPC President Andrew Parsons said one of their strategic goals is to grow a global audience for Paralympics.
“Increasing broadcast availability is central to that. I am thrilled that since we announced this initiative back in December last year, we have more than doubled the number of African broadcasters taking the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games from 24 to 49,” Parsons said.
For the first time African viewers will watch the opening and closing ceremonies broadcast live on August 24 and September 5, respectively.
It is estimated that the broadcasts will reach out to over 250 million viewers on the continent.