Rio Paralympics on track, says GB chef de mission Briscoe

By Nick HopeBBC Olympic sports reporter
Penny Briscoe
Penny Briscoe received her MBE for services to Paralympic sport in 2013.

Rio 2016 organisers have made "remarkable" progress in developing venues and facilities since football's World Cup in the summer, says ParalympicsGB's chef de mission for the Games.

Penny Briscoe, who has been named chef de mission for Rio 2016, also believes Britain's Para-sports are in a "great place" as they bid to win more medals in Brazil than at London 2012.

"There's great confidence that developments are back on track," Briscoe told BBC Sport.

"We have just completed a site visit and from what I've seen I don't have any concerns about accessibility or links around the Games for athletes."

Earlier this year International Olympic Committee vice-president John Coates said Rio's preparations for the 2016 Games were the "worst" he had seen - though he later stressed he believed it was still possible to deliver an excellent Games.

Briscoe, who will be working at her seventh Paralympics, was the British chef de mission at Sochi 2014 earlier this year and was the deputy chef at London 2012.

"The Rio show apartments look fantastic and if they deliver against the model it could potentially be the best village ever," she said.

Like their Olympic counterparts, ParalympicsGB have been set a target by UK Sport to win more medals at Rio 2016 than at London 2012.

British disabled athletes claimed 120 honours at the last summer Games and have won 200 major international medals in 2014.

"We've had a fantastic season and confidence in the camp is high," said Briscoe.

"The Rio target is a steep one, but we wouldn't get up every day and keep challenging ourselves if we didn't think it was achievable."

ParalympicsGB took a squad of 288 athletes to London 2012, but benefitted from a number of sports receiving 'host nation' berths.

They are hoping to take a team of between 260-280 competitors to Rio 2016, with more athletes qualifying outright than at any previous Games.

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