16 Dec 2018

Totally engrossed by the table tennis events at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, Andrew Parsons, the former President of the Brazilian Paralympic Committee, now President of the International Paralympic Committee, was recently recognized for his unstinting efforts in the promotion and support of table tennis for the disabled in his native country.

On Wednesday 12th December, at a specially arranged gathering in São Paulo, he received the Brazilian Table Tennis Confederation’s Merit Award.

by Ian Marshall, Editor

In addition to a host of players and those connected with table tennis in Brazil; present for the occasion was Alaor Azevedo, the President of the Brazilian Table Tennis Confederation (CBTM), Ricardo Leyser, the former Brazilian Minister of Sport and Mizael Conrado, the current President of the Brazilian Paralympic Committee. Notably also in attendance was Mauricio Kobayashi, the long serving and highly respected national coach, he instilled a sense of belief into his players that they set the standard for Latin America.

Dedicated to the task, Andrew Parsons, served as Chair of the Brazilian Paralympic Committee from 2009 to 2011, having been Chair of the United States Paralympic Committee from 2005 to 2009. It was during his period of office that Para sport in the country made major steps forward. A professional structure was established, the effect being that overall Brazil has become one of the leading nations in Para sport.

“He is only the 12th person to receive this title in nearly 40 years of CBTM history. In the Confederacy, we practise gratitude and recognition, something rare in Brazil. A leader is worth the results he achieves; his work offers our table tennis players much better conditions than we had before, for example, look at our results in 2016”. Alaor Azevedo

The progress is reflected in table tennis at the Paralympic Games. Memorably in 2008 in Beijing Welder Knaf and Luiz Silva won Men’s Team Class 3 silver; meanwhile, on home soil in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Israel Stroh was the runner up in Men’s Singles Class 7, Iranildo Espindola and Guilherme da Costa combined to secure bronze in Men’s Team Class 1-2. Undoubtedly all have been inspired by Andrew Parsons.

” I had not yet won a medal and was not so famous. Andrew was the President of the Brazilian Paralympic Committee; he met me one day, called me by name, he encouraged me and spoke of the results I had achieved two months earlier.” Guilherme da Costa

Similarly in the Women’s events in 2016, there was success for Bruna Alexandre; she reserved the third step of the podium in Class 10 and with Danielle Rauen in Team Class 6-10, the same result. Success in Rio de Janeiro, for Bruna Alexandre, Danielle Rauen and Jennyfer Parinios, it was gold in Class 9-10 at the 2017 World Para Team Championships in Bratislava.

Fine efforts and to a great extent made possible by the well organized policies promoted by Andrew Parsons, a fact recognized by Mizael Conrado.

“He led the process at the most difficult time. It started in 2009 when we had confirmation of the Paralympics in Rio. It was not easy. The 72 medals we won did not happen by chance.” Mizael Conrado

Most creditable results, Andrew Parsons has proved a motivating force for Para sport in Brazil; a man of vision and one who understands the needs of athletes in whatever discipline.

“In order to build a solid project, you must know what athletes need, what they crave. I am very proud to see the results achieved by each one of you.” Andrew Parsons

Andrew Parsons was elected President of the International Paralympic Committee on Friday 8th September at the 18th Assembly of International Paralympic Committee in Abu Dhabi; he follows illustrious footsteps. He succeeded England’s Sir Philip Craven.

Paralympics Para Table Tennis Alaor Azevedo Andrew Parsons