Eurostar has revealed details of its partnership with the Belgian National Paralympic Committee, which will see the high-speed rail operator proudly carry the Belgian Paralympic team to London ahead of the Paralympic Games later this year.
Central to this partnership is a project which will be carried out by Eurostar’s fleet engineering team at its depot in Stratford, next to the Olympic Park in East London. A Eurostar train will undergo a series of unique modifications designed to accommodate the requirements of the Belgian Paralympic team. Once completed, the modifications will for the first time allow the train to carry up to 18 wheelchair users and other Paralympic athletes many with special travel needs.
Nicolas Petrovic, Chief Executive of Eurostar, said; “It is an incredible honour to be able to bring the Belgian Paralympians to London this summer and give them the opportunity to travel together as one team. For us, this is a central element of our partnership with the London 2012 Games and every area of our business has played a part turning this project into a reality. We share the same enthusiasm for both the Olympic and Paralympic Games and seeing our own teams pulling together to make this happen has been a source of inspiration for our entire business.”
Utilising the specially adapted train, Eurostar will carry the majority of the Belgian Paralympians to London on a chartered service on the 26th August and then again on their celebratory, homecoming journey to Brussels on the 10th September. In addition, some team members will travel to London on other services in order to accommodate their training and Games time schedules.
In total, the cross-Channel high-speed passenger rail operator will bring to London over 120 Belgian Paralympic athletes, National Committee officials and other members of the team delegation. As well as many medal hopefuls such as Gino Dekeersmaeker, current world champion discus throw and Wim Decleir current vice world champion handbike, passengers will include the Belgian Paralympic Rugby and Goalball teams. The teams and delegations have been consulted throughout the project, their views and feedback helping shape the programme of modifications.
Nicolas Petrovic, continued; “In recent years the Paralympic movement has come of age and the London 2012 Paralympic Games are set to be the most successful and inspiring to date. With 20 different sports and as many as 4,200 athletes taking part from 165 nations, these will be the biggest Paralympic Games in history. This represents a once in a lifetime opportunity for sports fans from across Europe to share in the excitement and we are proud to play a role bringing many of them to London this summer.”
Anne d’Ieteren, chairwoman of the Belgium Paralympic Committee quote comments; “The Paralympic movement is delighted about this partnership. Eurostar will undoubtedly contribute to the achievement of our ambitions. Eurostar is working with us to create the right environment by transporting the team as a whole to London, quickly and comfortably. We therefore hope that this partnership will also be a sign to the public at large: the Games are just around the corner, and thanks to our partner you are there in no time to support the Belgian Paralympic Team in their efforts to win a medal of honour.”
Eurostar is the Official International Rail Service Provider for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Over the summer, Eurostar services will carry hundreds of thousands of Olympic fans from the continent to London to enjoy the atmosphere of the London 2012 Games.