Director of the Museum of Tomorrow, Ricardo Piquet, holds the Paralympic torch during the torch relay in front of the museum, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. (AP Photo/Mauro Pimentel)
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The 2016 Paralympics begin Wednesday with Rio's Maracana stadium again the iconic setting for the opening ceremony of a Games staged against a backdrop of austerity and doping.Less than three weeks after the flame was doused on South America's first Olympic Games, Rio de Janeiro welcomes 4,300 Paralympians seeking their own slice of sporting glory.Stars include Iranian powerlifter Siamand Rahman, Britain's wheelchair racer David Weir and China's blind sprinter Liu Cuiqing.Two new events -- canoe-kayak and triathlon -- make their appearance on the 22-sport menu, with competitors from 161 nations -- but not one Russian amongst them.With half-empty venues dogging last month's Olympics, Rio 2016 Paralympic organizers said Monday that 1.5 million tickets had been sold and they hope that all 2.5 million will go.Britain's Weir is in Rio to add to his six gold medals.
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