DUSHANBE, August 29, 2012, Asia-Plus  -- The 2012 Summer Paralympic Games will kick off today and last till September 9.  They are being held in London, United Kingdom, after the city was successful with its bid for the Paralympics and Summer Olympic Games.

It is the second largest multi-sport event ever held within the United Kingdom after the 2012 Olympic Games.

The Games are the first modern Paralympics solely hosted by the United Kingdom; the 1984 Summer Paralympics were originally intended to be hosted by the United States at the University of Illinois in Champaign, Illinois, but due to financial issues, the university passed on hosting the games shortly before they were set to begin, leading to the British village of Stoke Mandeville and the American region of Long Island quickly stepping in to co-host the games.

Stoke Mandeville also played an important role in the history of the Paralympics; in 1948, Dr. Ludwig Guttmann and the Stoke Mandeville Hospital first held the Stoke Mandeville Games, an event for British World War II veterans with spinal cord injuries to coincide with the opening ceremony of the 1948 Summer Olympics in London.  The Stoke Mandeville Games were the first ever organized athletics event for the disabled, and served as a significant precursor to the Paralympic movement as a whole.

London 2012 is expected to be the “biggest Paralympic Games ever.”  An estimated total of 4,200 athletes are expected to compete in the Games, an increase of 250 athletes in comparison to the 2008 Summer Paralympics.  They will represent 165 countries, 19 more than in Beijing.   

iSportconnect cited the President of the International Paralympic Committee Sir Philip Craven as saying that the London Paralympic Games will be a ‘tremendous success.’  “It can often prove frustrating being the little brother to the Olympic Games.”  Nevertheless, according to him, the Paralympic Games are now positioned for sustained growth and are “seeing the fruit coming now off the tree.”

Speaking exclusively to iSportconnect Editor Edward Rangsi, Sir Philip Craven reportedly noted that the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games has proved to be a major catalyst for the increased popularity of the Paralympic Games.  The daunting task both the IPC and LOCOG face is how to build on the momentum generated from what Sir Philip Craven described four years ago as ‘the greatest Paralympic Games ever”, but preparations have gone smoothly and all the small glitches have been stamped out.  “The way we have been able to partner LOCOG for the past six and a half years has really ensured that the Paralympic Games in London are going to be a tremendous success,” said Sir Philip.  “There have not been too many problems and six and a half years is a good period of time to iron any out and that is what has happened.”

Despite the colossal task put in front of LOCOG, the London 2012 Olympic Games seemed to overwhelm expectations and were undoubtedly a huge success.  Sir Philip hopes for more of the same quintessential British enthusiasm during the Paralympics.

We will recall that powerlifter Parviz Odinayev, 30, will represent Tajikistan at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

According to Tajikistan’s National Olympic Committee (NOC), Parviz Odinayev has qualified for the 2012 London Paralympic Games, finishing second in his weight division (75kg) in the Paralympic qualifying tournament in Dubai.