Saturday, June 22, 2024

GB chef de mission Penny Briscoe has security concerns over Paris Paralympics

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ParalympicsGB chef de mission Penny Briscoe admits security in Paris is “a concern” with just 100 days to go until the start of the 2024 Games.

Yet she feels “confident” French authorities are doing everything possible to create a safe environment for the event.

Amid public fears regarding the potential for a terrorist attack, France’s president Emmanuel Macron has spoken of the security threat ahead of a big summer of sport in his country’s capital.

Paris is set to host the Paralympics (Adam Davy/PA)

The first European-based Paralympics since London 2012 will run from August 28 to September 8, following on from the Olympics, which is scheduled to take place between July 26 and August 11.

“Clearly, security is a concern and it’s something that has obviously been flagged by the media and I think from our perspective it is a concern,” Briscoe told the PA news agency.

“The health, the wellbeing, the safety of the whole delegation of all Games stakeholders is something that we’re really mindful of.”

Tight security was in place when tens of thousands of spectators welcomed the Olympic torch in the French city of Marseille earlier this month.

“Seeing the arrival of the Olympic flame in Marseille and the security presence and the plans in place, I think the French authorities are aware of the different kinds of security risks and are doing everything that they can to mitigate those risks and give stakeholders confidence,” continued Briscoe.

“We’ve always had our own security advisor and we’ve got a really experienced head of security well connected to all the authorities, both in the UK and in France.

“We’re aware of the risk but are confident the French authorities are doing everything they can to create safe and secure environments for all stakeholders and we’re similarly showing due diligence in terms of how we approach our participation at the Games.”

ParalympicsGB will take approximately 230 athletes to Paris and has qualified in 19 of 22 sports.

Briscoe, who is leading the team for the third successive summer Paralympics, believes Para sport is more competitive than ever and anticipates a “landmark” Games.

“Performance standards continue to rise,” she said.

“The environment is far more competitive than it’s ever been, it’s harder to win medals and I think medals are probably celebrated even harder because of that.

“I do think that Paris will be a landmark Games in terms of both performances on the field of play and the experience off the field of play.

ParalympicsGB finished second in the medal table at Tokyo 2020
ParalympicsGB finished second in the medal table at Tokyo 2020 (Tim Goode/PA)

“With 100 days to go, anticipation and expectation and excitement would be the words that sum up how we’re feeling.”

ParalympicsGB finished second behind China in the medal table at the rescheduled Tokyo Games in 2021, winning 124 medals – 41 gold, 38 silver and 45 bronze – across 18 of 19 sports entered.

“After that Covid Games in Tokyo, the excitement and expectation is maybe even a little bit higher,” said Briscoe.

“From my perspective, we are medal competitive in every sport and there will be excitement in every day of competition with British athletes featuring and vying for medals.”

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