• IPC chief expects Beijing Paralympics to be a hard act to follow - [Olympic]

    2008-09-04 | Tag:OLYMPICS _ News


    BEIJING - The organizers of the Beijing Paralympics would set a good model for future hosts, the president of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) said here on Wednesday.

    The Paralympics, the world's premier sporting event for elite disabled athletes, will open in Beijing on Saturday, nearly two weeks after the Chinese capital successfully hosting the Olympic Games.

    Philip Craven, who has been in Beijing over the past five weeks, said he was impressed by the preparation work done by the Beijing Organizing Committee for the 2008 Olympic Games (BOCOG) when addressing a meeting of IPC executive board.

    "I would like to, on behalf of the whole Paralympic family, thank BOCOG and China for the incredible transition that have taken place here in Beijing and also in (co-host city) Qingdao," said the IPC chief.

    "No doubt, we have seen equal splendor here as you promised to us. We've seen it and we're feeling it," he added.

    In line with China's motto for the Paralympics, comparing it with the Olympics, - "Two Games with Equal Splendor", the Chinese government has endeavored to make Beijing and co-host cities of Qingdao and Hong Kong as accessible as possible for Pralympians and spectators as well, for example, setting up the country's first fleet of easy-access taxis and making tourist spots such as the Great Wall accessible to wheelchairs.

    Craven, who himself is wheelchair bound, said he was confident that the Beijing Paralympics would be a complete success and "highly copyable for the future".

    "We all expect that this games will open a new chapter in the history and progression of the Paralympic Movement," he said.

    More than 4,000 athletes from 148 countries and regions will compete in 20 sports at the Beijing Paralympics, which will run from September 6 to17.