Lights, colours and music wrap up Rio Paralympics

Rio de Janeiro: The closing ceremony of Rio Paralympic Games 2016 turned into a feast of light, colour and music in the Maracana stadium with the theme “Biodiversity: Our Inspiration”. The ceremony began here on Sunday with a dance by a group of 16 wheelchair users and an epic guitar duet by Andreas Kisser of Brazilian heavy metal band Sepultura and an armless guitarist, reports Efe.

After a speech by the President of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Philip Craven, singer Saulo Lucas, who suffers from autism, sang the Brazilian national anthem. Later, unlike at the opening ceremony, a parade of one athlete from each of the 160 participating countries in the Rio Paralympics, brought their national flags out.

The US track and field athlete Tatyana McFadden and Syrian swimmer Ibrahim Al-Hussein were announced as winners of the Whang Youn Dai Achievement Award. Since 1988 this award is given at every Paralympic Games to one male and one female athlete who “best exemplify the spirit of the Games and inspire and excite the world”.

The International Paralympic Committee anthem, played by musicians Daniel Santiago, Pedro Martins and Mestrinho, marked the transition from Rio to Tokyo 2020.

The anthem of Japan was played, and then Tokyo governor Yoriko Koike received the flag, followed by performances of several dancers, some in wheelchairs.

After the show, Carlos Arthur Nuzman, president of the Rio 2016 Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games delivered an official speech, saying the Paralympic Games have been spectacular.

IPC President Craven said that Brazil, as a country and the people of Rio de Janeiro, in recognition of their outstanding support, will be awarded the Paralympic Order, the highest honour the body can bestow.

The ceremony continued with musical performances by Saulo, singer Negro do Borel and a funk group from Rio de Janeiro the Dream Team do Passinho.