The Olympic Boulevard of Porto Maravilha will receive new attractions during the Paralympics. Until September 18, children and adults will have the chance to practice some of the Paralympics modalities, such as sitting volleyball, wheelchair basketball, boccia and footbal 5-a-side, in a space created by Loterias Caixa near Igreja da Candelária (church). Those who go on to Praça Mauá will also be able to visit the Wheelchair Parade exposition, where customized wheelchairs made by Brazilian artists and celebrities- like Felipe Guga, Mana Bernardes and Rene Silva- are on display. After a roaring success during the Olympics, the live sites (communal spaces established by Rio’s City Hall) are going to be a great leisure option for the first weekend of Rio 2016 Paralympics Games.
The couple Kazuhiro Ito and Manuela were travelling during the Olympic Games, since their daughter Maria Luiza (8 years old) was on school vacation. Now, back in Rio, the family visited the Boulevard on Saturday. “We played boccia and basketball. Activities like these are important, because they give people a sense of how difficult these sports are, how great it is that the Paralympics exist. You’ll want to watch every game.” guaranteed Manuela, who already bought wheelchair rubgy. tickets for the whole family.
Next to Museum of Tomorrow, at Praça Mauá, Elizângela Gomes and her husband Fábio dos Santos were taking pictures of customized wheelchair (‘Fio Fio’) by artist Mana Bernardes. “I think this is a very clever way to breach the subject of accessibility. I loved that it is so colorful. It’s not sad, nor depressing” said Elizângela. The family was also visiting the Olympic Boulevard for the first time, and plans to watch the athletics and wheelchair rugby competitions. ” We weren’t able to come because it was always crowded, but this is an excellent place, beautiful, safe, organized. ” complimented him.
Besides a calendar filled with shows and a giant screen that will live-stream competitions of the Paralympics Games, the region of Praça Mauá attracts street artists and visiting performers like the Curitiba Choir, formed by 100 people. The group used the September 7 holiday to visit Rio and perform in the city. “I’m truly impressed by this place. My father lived here in the 80s and the Port Region used to be so ugly. Now everything is amazing.” said Cesar Bihaiko, the choir director.
A holyday in the first week of the Paralympics also made it possible for Andreia Souza and her mother Maria Souza to come from São Paulo. Originally they planned to watch only the Opening Ceremony, but ended up going to the sitting basketball and swimming competitions. Andreia, who has suffered a spinal stroke and is in a wheelchair for 29 years, accompanied his brother (also in a wheelchair) when he played basketball, but never tried it herself. “I am so amazed with all of this! It is a chance to change the way people think of those with disabilities.