With just 13 days to go until the London 2012 Paralympic Games, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Committee announced on Thursday (16 August) that a record number of women will take part in the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
At London 2012, a record 1,513 female athletes will compete across 18 sports, which is more than double the 700 female athletes that took part in the Barcelona 1992 Games two decades ago.
The number of women taking part in the Paralympic Games has enjoyed great growth in recent times. At the Atlanta 1996 Games, 790 female athletes took part, followed by 990 at Sydney 2000, 1,165 at Athens 2004 and 1,383 at Beijing 2008.
Sir Philip Craven, IPC President, said: "The Paralympic Movement has made great strides in recent years in regards to the inclusion of female athletes. This has allowed for greater gender equity and a fair chance for anyone to compete in Paralympic Sport at the most elite level."
Tine Teilman, Chairperson of the IPC Women in Sport Committee which helps to raise the profile and involvement of women in Paralympic Sport, said: "It is very encouraging that the number of female participants in the Paralympic Games has doubled during the last 20 years. I am sure we will see many sportswomen through inspiring and exiting performances become strong role models for others.
"The growing number of female participants is also essential to secure equal sporting opportunities at the Games. Our expectation is also, in the long run, that it will increase the number of women in leadership positions in the Paralympic Movement."
In 2002, the IPC Women in Sport Committee formed to address the issue of gender equity within the Paralympic Movement. A year later the IPC General Assembly adopted a policy that stated all entities belonging to the Movement should immediately establish a goal to have a least 30 per cent of all offices in their decision-making structures to be held by women by 2009.
The London 2012 Games run from 29 August - 9 September. Of the 20 sports that will be played in London only Football 5-a-Side and Football 7-a-Side do not feature female athletes.
A record 4,200 athletes from 166 countries will compete at London 2012 which is heading for the first sell-out in the 52 year history of the Paralympic Games. So far more than 2.1 million tickets have been sold and a further 400,000 are expected to sell before the Opening Ceremony.
photos Janos Schmidt