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Record number of female Paralympians to take part in London 2012

August 19, 2012 - The greatest number of women Paralympians ever will compete at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, it has been announced.

In just 10 days time, a record 1,513 female athletes will compete against each other across 18 sports in various London 2012 venues.

Among the sportswomen present will be double-amputee T44 sprinter Marlou van Rhijn from the Netherlands and ParalympicsGB swim star Ellie Simmonds who competed in Beijing four years ago.

The number of women participating at the Paralympic Games has been increasing over time; more than doubling since the Barcelona 1992 Games two decades ago.

In 1996, at the Atlanta Games, 790 women represented their countries.

Four years on at Sydney 2000, this grew to 990.

By 2004, over a thousand women Paralympians – 1,165 to be exact – contended for medals, with this number rising to 1,383 at Beijing 2008.

Of the 20 sports that will be played in London this summer only five and seven-a-side football will not feature female athletes.

Sir Philip Craven, the President of the International Paralympic Committee, said: "The Paralympic Movement has made great strides in recent years in regards to the inclusion of female athletes.

"This has allowed for greater gender equity and a fair chance for anyone to compete in Paralympic sport at the most elite level."

Chairwoman of the IPC Women in Sport Committee, Tine Teilman commented: "I am sure we will see many sportswomen through inspiring and exiting performances become strong role models for others.

"The growing number of female participants is also essential to secure equal sporting opportunities at the Games.

"Our expectation is also, in the long run, that it will increase the number of women in leadership positions in the Paralympic Movement."

In 2002, the IPC Women in Sport Committee formed to address the issue of gender equity within the Paralympic Movement by raising the profile and involvement of women in Paralympic sport.

A year later, the IPC General Assembly adopted a policy that stated all entities belonging to the Movement should immediately establish a goal to have a least 30 per cent of all roles in their decision-making structures held by women by 2009.