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RIO 2016

Rio closes triumphant Paralympic Games

Swimming Men's 4x100m Medley Relay - 34 Points - Aquatic Stadium - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Swimming Men's 4x100m Medley Relay - 34 Points - Aquatic Stadium - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

The Rio 2016 Paralympics Games close today, Sunday, , marred by the death of an Iranian cyclist in the final hours.


Eleven days of competition where China dominated the medals table, followed by Britain, Ukraine and the United States, were ending Sunday with the last few events, including marathons and wheelchair rugby.

Organisers said they did not intend to take any special measures to prevent political manifestations during the Closing Ceremony at the Maracanã on Sunday, despite a representative of Belarus' delegation being reprimanded for carrying a Russian flag during the Opening Ceremony as a gesture of solidarity with the banned nation.

Officials are to officially to hand over to Tokyo for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games at the Ceremony.

The Japanese say that the Rio Games have set a high standard for them to follow.

"We have been impressed by our experience across both the Olympic and Paralympic Games and inspired by the passion of the Carioca," said Toshiro Muto, CEO of the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee, referring to Rio residents by their nickname.

The upbeat mood in Rio however was darkened late Saturday by the death of Iranian cyclist Bahman Golbarnezhad, who was only 48. .

The athlete, who wore a prosthesis on his left leg, fell during a mountainous descent in the road race and died before he could be treated in hospital.

Philip Craven, the International Paralympic Committee president, called the tragedy "truly heart-breaking."

The Iranian flag flew at half mast in the Athletes' Village and a minute's silence was planned at the closing ceremony.

The gap between the Olympic and Paralympic performances is gradually blurring with disabled athletes breaking records after records in Rio.

Among the stars were Brazil's swimmer Daniel Dias who added four golds, three silvers and two bronzes to his existing medal haul from Beijing and London which has won him descriptions as the Michael Phelps of the Paralympics.

There was amazement in the 1,500m track race when Algeria's Abdellatif Baka set a new record that was actually faster than the winning time by Olympic gold medalist Matthew Centrowitz in the same stadium a month earlier. However, Centrowitz won in what was by Olympic standards a near record slow race, meaning Baka's outstanding time was of mostly symbolic significance.

Once more it was China that dominated overall, with almost 100 medals more than its nearest rival, Britain, which held a comfortable second place.

The big country missing in the top section of the standings, however, was Russia which during the London Games won 102 medals, including 36 golds.

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