Sport resuming across the world has provided encouragement to the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) that the rearranged Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games can go ahead next year, according to the IPC's chief marketing and communications officer Craig Spence.
Speaking to LockerRoom on the New Zealand-based website Newsroom, Spence highlighted events starting up again in Australia and New Zealand, and the completion of the UEFA Champions League in Portugal, as causes for optimism for Tokyo 2020 organisers.
The International Olympic Committee and Japanese officials have stepped up their positive PR offensive in recent months, stating with confidence that the Games will take place in 2021.
IPC President Andrew Parsons has also publicly claimed he is hopeful the Paralympics, due to run from August 24 to September 5, will be staged as planned.
The Brazilian has also insisted a vaccine for COVID-19 is not essential for the Games to go ahead.
"I’m greatly encouraged by what’s happening around the world," said Spence.
"In New Zealand and Australia, sport is coming back again.
"And in Europe, the Champions League came to a climax with all the teams going to Portugal to play.
"Of course there’s a difference between a football tournament of eight teams, and a Paralympics where we’re calling on 4,300 athletes to compete.
"We know more about coronavirus, and how we can protect people from the virus.
"We’re learning from other sports events, like the US and French Opens.
"We believe it's going to be a very special Games, and a very emotional Games."
Spence added he feels the Paralympics "are needed next year more than ever" and revealed his concern that countries tackling the coronavirus crisis have "reverted to type" with their attitude towards disability.
"During this crisis, some countries have reverted to type, and undone some of the great work done in recent years," he said.
"From a disability point of view we have been really alarmed that some governments have said: 'If you have a disability you’re at the back of the queue for medical treatment should you catch coronavirus'.
"We have to continue the great work we’ve been doing since we were formed."