'Blade Jumper' Markus Rehm is one of para sport's leading lights. GETTY IMAGES

Despite sluggish ticket sales so far, organisers of the upcoming Paris 2024 Paralympics are hopeful that  the event can capture public imagination around the world.

Starting on 28 August and featuring 22 sports, the latest edition of the Paralympic Games will be broadcast to 160 nations and territories. Its interest peaked at the London 2012 Games, where the now-disgraced 'Blade Runner' Oscar Pistorius also competed in the Olympic Games.

Para sport has no one at present to match the South African's appeal over a decade ago, but veteran French wheelchair racer and coach Joel Jeannot argues that the absence of a single Games figurehead could be a positive. He told AFP, "Does para sport need one person today to be well known or is it that there are lots of people working for the promotion, recognition and inclusion of people living with disabilities? I think there are a lot of people working in this direction and I'd say that it's not such a bad thing."

Long jumper Markus Rehm has competed against non-para athletes, but not at the Olympics. The German - who has one prosthetic leg blade - holds the T64 world record with 8.64m which is further than the winning jumps at the last World Athletics Championships and Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Other para sport stars set to light up Paris include Italian fencer Bebe Vio, with over one million Instagram followers, Japan's 18-year-old wheelchair tennis champion Tokito Oda, and American "armless archer" Matt Stutzman, who has gone viral by using his feet to fire arrows and drive cars.

Experts say that for a para athlete to break into the mainstream, as Pistorius did, takes a number of attributes including personality, sporting prowess and institutional support. Magali Tezenas, the director general of French sponsorship management agency Sporsora, said, "You need to start a virtuous circle in which all stakeholders play their role - the media, sponsors, the institutions, organisers and the athletes who emerge, speak publicly and dare to go into the media."

French para swimmer Theo Curin, who is also a model and children's TV presenter, is optimistic for the future of para sports. He insisted, "I'm convinced that in a few years there will be four or five well-known figures in the whole world and people will want to follow them because they have incredible stories."