The new International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Governing Board was elected on Friday (8 September) at the 18th IPC General Assembly in Abu Dhabi, UAE, with New Zealand’s Duane Kale elected as Vice President of the IPC.
Kale, four-time Paralympic gold medallist and Paralympics New Zealand (PNZ) Board member won a close race, polling two more votes than rival candidate Petersson from Denmark.
As the Vice President of the IPC, Kale and new President Andrew Parsons will lead the global governing body of the Paralympic Movement to continue to drive social change through the inspirational performances of Paralympians and Para athletes. The global body has a huge member base including 178 National Paralympic Committees and acts as the International Federation for 10 Para sports.
The growth of the Movement in recent years has been staggering, internationally the summer Paralympic Games is now the third largest sporting event in the world, only behind the Olympic Games and FIFA World Cup. The Rio 2016 Paralympics had 4,328 Paralympians competing from over 160 countries, attracted 2.15 million spectators and online reached one billion people through the IPC digital media activities. In New Zealand, 2.2m Kiwi’s showed their support and watched their Paralympic heroes perform in Rio through free-to-air coverage.
Kale said, “I am incredibly proud and honoured to have been elected by the members to be the Vice President, although it still seems quite surreal at the moment. Being from a region [Oceania] that holds few votes relative to all the other regions makes the achievement more significant as we have had to draw the support of members from all around the world. This further endorses the way in which New Zealanders are viewed by other nations.”
He continued, “There will be very high expectations on Andrew and I to continue the legacy created by Sir Philip. We have been given a great platform by those that came before us and it is our job to now ensure that the impact of Para sport and the social change it creates continues to reach into the developing nations. The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games will be a significant event and catalyst for reaching deeper into the Asian region. To sum up my hopes for the future – I hope that I will leave the IPC in a better place than which I received it. And this is a considerable goal considering what Sir Philip Craven has achieved during his term as President.”
Kale said he believed there were a number of factors that contributed to his success including Paralympics New Zealand being highly respected both domestically and internationally for its sporting success.
He said, “I have no doubt that this will have played a part in my success as Vice President. We are from a little place at the bottom of the world, however we continue to be able to play a key role internationally and I am delighted to be the person who is guiding the future direction of the IPC and the Paralympic Games.”
Kale will join new IPC President Andrew Parsons (Brazil) and 10 members at large on the Governing Board to lead the Paralympic movement for a four-year term.