On 9 August, in the square in front of Riga Castle the Latvian Paralympic Committee officially announced the seven Paralympic athletes who will represent Latvia at the XVI Summer Paralympic Games in Tokyo, which will take place from 24 August until 5 September. The athletes were also congratulated by President of Latvia Egils Levits and Mrs Andra Levite.
President of Latvia Egils Levits wished all the best to the Paralympians, their coaches and crew members for their long journey to Tokyo:
“Great challenges await you in Tokyo, but always remember that you are an example to others. First of all, an example of what a person is capable of through determination and perseverance. Secondly, you are an example of what a person is capable of despite special difficulties.
Having been chosen to represent our country at the Paralympic Games is, in itself, a great achievement. It means that you are already part of the Paralympic world elite.
I wish you great success! All of Latvia will be with you. Thank you and good luck!”
Andra Levite, as patron of the Latvian Paralympic Movement, will watch our athletes compete in Tokyo in person from 25 August till 29 August. In congratulating our national athletes today, the First Lady said:
“Yesterday, on 8 August, the XXXII Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo came to a close. Latvian athletes brought home medals. That is also what I wish to you!
Latvian athletes came home with good standing in official rankings. That is also what I wish to you!
Latvian athletes heard the Latvian anthem in Olympic arenas. That is also what I wish to you!
Because of the six hour time difference with Japan, people throughout Latvia got up in the middle of the night to watch Latvian athletes compete on television. That is also what I wish to you!
Latvian media reflected each day spent by our athletes in Tokyo. That is also what I wish to you!
Latvian athletes were welcomed home with flags at the airport. That is also what I wish to you!
For their achievements in Tokyo, Latvian athletes will receive bonuses. That is also what I wish to you!
State institutions are thinking of ways to improve sports centres and training opportunities for Latvian athletes. That is also what I wish to you!
The restorer of the modern Olympics Pierre de Coubertain was the first to introduce the Olympic motto: “Citius, Altius, Fortius”, which in Latin means “Faster, Higher, Stronger”. The most important of these three qualities is strength. I know that this you have in abundance. You tackle physical limitations in sport and in daily life. You overcome unfavourable training conditions. You fulfil international standards to secure your invitation to the Paralympic Games.
I will be happy to see the XVI Summer Paralympic Games opened in Tokyo on 24 August.
Travel to Tokyo with positive emotions, and forget about any ill-timed debates.
It is your turn to have the world hear about Latvia! We will all be cheering for you! All the best in Tokyo!”
Latvia will be represented at the Paralympics by seven athletes: Aigars Apinis, Diāna Dadzīte, Edgars Bergs, Baiba Rorbaha in para-athletics, Rihards Snikus in para-dressage, Jurijs Semjonovs in swimming, and Ieva Melle in archery. At the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Games the Latvian flag will be carried by four-time Paralympic Champion para-athlete Aigars Apinis and archer Ieva Melle.
These will be the 8th summer Paralympic Games after the restoration of Latvia’s independence where Latvian para-athletes take part. Since 2000 Latvia has won 15 medals at the Paralympics. That is the best result from among the Baltic States and the 49th best result globally.
Based on the number of medals won, the national population and the number of people with disabilities in the given country, the International Paralympic Committee has determined that Latvia ranks as number one in this regard.
Overall athletes will compete in 22 sports in the Paralympic Games in Tokyo: archery, badminton, boccia, canoe rowing, cycling, para-dressage, 5-a-side football, goalball, table tennis, taekwondo, judo, power lifting, rowing, shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming, triathlon, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair fencing, wheelchair rugby, wheelchair tennis.