Earlier today on the IPC website, test events were announced for the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio. The events include sailing in August 2015 in an event being called Aquece Rio Open Series. In September, three different sports will have their test events: canoe sprint, triathlon and archery. In November 2015, table tennis and boccia test events are on the schedule. In January 2016, a wheelchair rugby test event is scheduled and the Aquece Rio Open Series sailing event will continue. In April, test events will take place for goalball and shooting. In May, test events will take place for swimming and athletics.
The IPC has noted that the exact dates for these events may be subject to change, and there are plans to include a powerlifting test event. According to an IPC document linked in their report, currently there are no test events planned for wheelchair basketball or sitting volleyball.
Rio 2016’s Test Events General Manager Delphine Moulin is quoted as saying, “Test events are a vital part of the preparations for staging the Games, providing the opportunity to put all our planning into practice. They also present an invaluable chance to integrate the organising committee’s team with the International and National Sports Federations and government teams, who also have a crucial role to play in the delivery of the Games.”
Rio 2016’s Executive Director of Sport and Paralympic Integration Agberto Guimarães is quoted as saying, “Establishing the calendar is an important step as these events will allow us to test all aspects of the competitions and ensure that, come Games time, everything will be in place for the athletes to produce their best performances.”
Teams also benefit from tests. Team USA Sailing has already established an Olympic base for their competitors nearby in Charitas, on the Niteroi side of Guanabara Bay. They have their boats scheduled to arrive soon, and are planning to give their team members enough time to adapt to the local conditions to better insure their success. The USA team has been keeping abreast of all the planning around the Games and test events because they have repeatedly expressed concern about water quality near where the competition is scheduled to take place as a result of unregulated sewage dumping in the area.
For fans, these events have the potential to give early another idea for whom to watch for during the Paralympic Games. The Chinese women won the 2012 London test event in goalball, and later went on to claim silver at the Games. Esther Vergeer won the women’s wheelchair singles competition in the wheelchair tennis test event, and then went on to claim gold at the London Games.