The Rio 2016 Paralympic Opening Ceremony today will be the first event of more than 300 hours of live coverage of the Games on the recently launched Olympic Channel.

The Channel’s coverage from Rio de Janeiro will be available to audiences in 162 territories and will include events and highlights shows, before concluding with the Closing Ceremony on September 18.

The Channel was launched on August 21 as a key part of the Olympic Movement’s push to engage more young people and spark interest in Olympism all year-round.

The Channel is widely seen as the most significant development to come out of International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach’s Olympic Agenda 2020 reform initiative.

IOC members unanimously approved the Channel - which has a fully-funded budget of $490 million (£370 million/€443 million) for its first seven years - at the 127th IOC Session in Monte Carlo.

Over the course of the Paralympic Games, more than 4,300 athletes from 159 countries will compete in 528 medal events in 233 different sports.

In addition to coverage of live sporting action, the Olympic Channel is aiming to "capture the behind the scenes footage and conduct athlete interviews to develop complimentary content in support of the Paralympic Movement".

"We are excited to work with the International Paralympic Committee to bring the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games to the Olympic Channel in our collective efforts to create broader awareness and engagement for these sports and athletes,” said Mark Parkman, general manager of the Olympic Channel.

“The Olympic Channel provides a worldwide platform where fans can learn about sports, explore new ones and be inspired to do more in their personal lives and communities through sport.

"Paralympic sport and athletes are incredibly inspiring and we are honoured to showcase their athletic excellence."