Synopsis: The Chinese sports delegation has accomplished its goal at the Beijing Paralympic Games with fine sports performance and spirits.
The 2008 Beijing Paralympics closing ceremony will be held September 17, 2008 at 8:00 PM (Beijing Time). The directors of closing ceremony pledge the performances will be spectacular.
Wednesday is the last day for the Beijing Paralympics - an international sporting event showcasing the abilities of people with disabilities around the world.
Many of the world's weaker sporting nations also made their breakthroughs in Beijing. A record 76 countries and regions won medals, two more than the previous high in Athens in 2004, and several delegations won either their first-ever gold medal or first medal of any color. "These Games have been great Games. I think everybody realizes that," said International Paralympic Committee President Philip Craven"
Craven said in his closing speech that "what a great Paralympic Games this has been! An ethereal opening ceremony, staggering athletic performances in perfect stadia, the best ever Paralympic Villages, amazing high definition television coverage, a never ending and self generating supply of passion and emotion, superb organization, wonderful volunteers, millions of new Paralympic sports aficionados both here in China and around the world." He said "it is all about spirit". The Paralympic spirit that is ever bright in our movement, found here in China, a kindred spirit. It reached out to you, you embraced it and it is now cherished in your hearts.
It was the biggest Paralympics in the 60-year history of sport for disabled athletes. As with the summer Games, Beijing has set a new benchmark which the London organizers in 2012 will find difficult to beat.
The Paralympics, simply put, were inspiring. As always the Paralympians themselves were amazing. But also the warmth and enthusiasm of their reception by the public in Beijing, the high and respectful degree of organization on the part of the Games' coordinators, and the newly assertive sense of self-respect among the disabled in China that these Games seem to have inspired, as well as a new attitude in general from the government and from Chinese society as a whole.
The Paralympics drew more than 4,000 athletes from 148 countries competing in 20 sports. Gold medals will be awarded in 472 events and over 5,000 media were accredited.
Elite disabled athletes who did not qualify for the Beijing Paralympics should not be disheartened as they can still compete in other competitions said Malaysian Paralympics contingent Chef-de-Mission, John Ng.
The Beijing Olympic Organizing Committee's Wang Wei said the Paralympics will leave a "huge and far-reaching" legacy in China, mostly of greater goodwill towards handicapped people. Wang calls the Paralympics a milestone in raising awareness for disabled people in China, where the handicapped remain largely segregated in special schools and have little access to jobs and financial support.
Vancouver will host the 2010 Winter Paralympics where Canada's goal is to finish among the top three countries. Some of Canada's best summer Paralympians won't be around in 2012. Wheelchair racers Chantal Petitclerc of Montreal, whose five victories account for almost one-third of the country's gold medals, and Dean Bergeron of St-Augustin-de Desmasures, Que., who won two gold and a bronze, are retiring.
Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan, himself a quadriplegic, believes that China's no-holds-barred staging of the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing, with near-full venues and comprehensive TV coverage, has rocketed the event to heights it has never come close to achieving before. The Paralympic Games have turned a corner, declared Mr. Sullivan, an observer of the Beijing competition and four previous Paralympics, and this is certain to have a positive impact on the 2010 Games in Vancouver and Whistler. Canadians will bring home more than 40 medals from the Games for athletes with disability, which came on the heels of the able-bodied Olympic Games.
London will take over as Paralympic host city as the flame of the Beijing Games is extinguished on Wednesday. Britain won 102 medals overall, nowhere near China's 87 golds and total of 207, but ahead of the US, Ukraine and Australia.
The organizers of the London 2012 Paralympics have promised to stage the most closely integrated Olympic and Paralympic games yet as Britain's Paralympic athletes outstripped expectations in Beijing and prepared to fly home with twice as many medals as their Olympic counterparts.
The Chinese sports delegation has accomplished its goal at the Beijing Paralympic Games with fine sports performance and spirits, officials said here on Wednesday. Having achieved great success at the Summer Paralympic Games, Chinese athletes will work hard to improve their performance at the Winter Paralympic Games.
The two biggest track stars of the Beijing Paralympics, "Blade Runner" Oscar Pistorius of South Africa and wheelchair racer Chantal Petitclerc of Canada, triumphed again at the Bird's Nest stadium in the last full day of competition of the 2008 Games.
Oscar Pistorius has won Gold Medals in the 100, 200 and 400 meter races at the Beijing Paralympics. Next year he competes at the Bislett Games in Oslo.
Wheelchair fencer Ye Ruyi won the last gold medal for Chinese delegation at Beijing Paralympic Games as he beat his compatriot Tian Jianquan in the men's individual sabre Category A final. In the Men's individual sabre Category B final, top world ranked Laurent Francois of France, beat Hui Charn-hung 15-9 with style, capping the only gold medal for Europe in this sport.
Kurt Fearnley has won his first gold at the Bird's Nest, holding onto his title of marathon champion on the last day of Paralympic competition in Beijing. Fearnley set a new Paralympic record in the T54 event, finishing in 1 hour, 23 minutes and 17 seconds. The Australian managed to clinch the gold medal ahead of Japan's Hiroki Sasahara, while South Africa's Ernst van Dyke took bronze. Fearnley's main rivals in Beijing - Great Britain's David Weir and Thailand's Prawat Wahoram, who finished with gold and silver in the 1500m - were due to compete in the marathon but did not start. In the men's T12 marathon for vision impaired athletes, Australia's Roy Daniell finished 13th overall and China's Shun Qi took gold.
Nkomo Samila, who works in a bank in the eastern coastal city of Durban, said she was amazed by the organization work and the tremendous efforts paid by the Chinese government for the Beijing Paralympics.