Games would help lower barriers

Updated: 2015-03-27 07:35

By Sun Xiaochen(China Daily)

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When Hou Bin, an athlete who lost his left leg in a train accident at the age of 9, raised himself up on a cable to light the caldron at the 2008 Paralympic Games at the National Stadium, the whole world applauded in awe, not only for the successful lighting of the flame but also for the Paralympic spirit he embodied.

With Beijing bidding for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, the concept of equality, inclusion and sharing - as well as the promotion of a barrier-free environment - is expected to benefit the livelihood of disabled people like Hou, the bid committee envisioned on Thursday.

"The preparation for and hosting of the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games will create a strong environment of understanding and respecting people with disabilities and promoting their equal participation in social activities with the upgrading of accessible facilities," said Zhao Sujing, deputy secretary-general of the Beijing 2022 bid committee.

Following the momentum of the 2008 Summer Paralympics, the Beijing 2022 bid committee pledged to the visiting International Olympic Committee's evaluation commission that it would host an equally exciting winter sports gala for the disabled, adhering to the philosophy of inspiration, excellence and development.

The IOC commission finished the inspection of all the proposed venues of Beijing's bid on Thursday, after visiting five competition venues for snowboarding, ski jumping, Nordic combined, biathlon as well as freestyle and cross-country skiing in Chongli county, Zhangjiakou, Beijing's proposed co-host city for snow events.

The commission focused on existing skiing resorts' operation, new venues' post-Games use and relocation of involved local residents and provided relevant suggestions, said Zhang Jiandong, vice-president of the bid committee and vice-mayor of Beijing.

"Through the bid for the Winter Olympics, the skiing industry will be boosted in Chongli, while more job offers will be generated for local residents," said Hou Liang, mayor of Zhangjiakou.

Should Beijing's bid succeed, the 2022 Winter Paralympics will open on March 4 and conclude on March 13, with athletes competing in six sports - Alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing, ice sledge hockey, para-snowboard and wheelchair curling - at the same venues for the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Advanced barrier-free facilities will be upgraded at competition venues, the public transportation system, accommodation sites and communities in Beijing and Hebei province, satisfying not only the needs of the Games but also benefiting local residents and tourists with disabilities.

 Games would help lower barriers

International Olympic Committee Evaluation Commission Chairman Alexander Zhukov (center) and colleagues, accompanied by Minister of General Administration of Sports Liu Peng (second from right), inspect facilities in Zhangjiakou, Hebei province, on Thursday. Feng Yongbin / China Daily

(China Daily 03/27/2015 page3)