International Paralympic Committee’s (IPC) Para Sport grassroots-to-high performance programme has announced a new partnership with the American investment bank and financial services corporation, Citi.
As the founding partner, the New York-headquartered firm has agreed to support the program’s unveiling as well as collaborate with the IPC to develop specific para-sports through international federations until the end of 2024.
The newly unveiled para-sports initiative seeks to spread awareness of sporting opportunities for persons with disabilities, illustrate the personal development, social, and enfranchisement benefits of participation, and create an integrated society for those participating worldwide.
The venture’s first spotlight will be on para ice hockey, with the goal of developing gender equality in sport. Citi has partnered with World Para Ice Hockey to create the Women’s World Challenge, which is a new four-team round-robin international competition.
The inaugural Women’s World Challenge will be held from August 26 to 28 at the Cornerstone Community Center in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Citi will function as the game’s presenting sponsor.
Citi has been engaged with para-sports since 2012 when it sponsored athletes in the United States. From 2018 to 2021, the bank was an international partner of the IPC, supporting 18 National Paralympic Committees (NPCs).
Ed Skyler, Citi’s Head of Global Public Affairs, said, “Initiatives like Para Sport and the Women’s World Challenge have a remarkable power to drive societal change. This new chapter in Citi’s support of Para sport is enabling us to turn our focus to the athletes and sport development programmes, broadening the impact we can make on the community level, and ultimately, helping to foster inclusion around the world.”
Michelle Laflamme, World Para Ice Hockey manager, commented, “The Citi partnership promises to turbocharge female engagement in para ice hockey, as we will be able to offer repeated sanctioned events in women’s para ice hockey for the first time. That’s not only exciting about the potential pathway, but it also sends a strong message to our members that we are dedicated to the development of women’s para ice hockey.”