More sponsors for 2004 Paralympics

In additional four sponsors have signed up for the 2004 Paralympics, in a deal worth 2.2 million euros ($3.4 million), International Paralympic Committee (IPC) officials said yesterday. The new sponsors include Ticketmaster, which will contribute 400,000 euros ($428,000), Shell Hellas, which signed on for 600,000 euros ($642,000) and ABB-ALSTON Siemens Diekat will give 500,000 euros ($535,000), Miriam Wilkens, a representative of the IPC told The Associated Press. Another sponsor, which had not yet been announced, has also agreed to give 700,000 euros ($749,000) in technology equipment. «The 2.2 (million euros), that’s about one-third of what they need to reach,» Wilkens said. «They are going to continue looking for more sponsors.» Visa was the first sponsor of the 2004 Paralympics, but the amount of the deal has not been disclosed. With the new deals, the 2004 Paralympics now have five sponsors. Back in 2000, Athens came close to losing the Paralympics after contract delays led the IPC to question the commitment of Greek organizers. Now, IPC delegates were pleased to note progress has been achieved. «The progress made has been very encouraging,» IPC chief Francois Terranova told a news conference on Thursday. Terranova saluted progress on transport and accommodation issues as well as medical provision for the 4,000 competitors expected in September 2004. «There are still specific areas where we need to see particular progress, such as IT sponsorship, the finalizing of the budget and promotion of the Games,» he said. Athens is a notoriously unfriendly city to people with special needs, including reduced mobility. Some progress has been achieved, however, in making parts of the city, including several sidewalks, more accessible. Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos has even promised an accessible Acropolis by 2004. (AP, Kathimerini)