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China sends largest delegation to Paralympics
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19:47, September 04, 2008

China has sent its largest-ever delegation to the Paralympic Games, with both athletes and officials looking to breakthroughs in newly added events and enhance exchange with their foreign counterparts.

The delegation was composed of 547 members, including 332 athletes from all walks of life, among whom 68 percent are Paralympic debutants.

Chinese athletes will compete in all 20 medal sports.

Wang Xinxian, China's chef de mission, said the Chinese team has three targets.

"First of all, we will try to get good results," he said.

At the Athens Paralympics, China, by sending 199 athletes to 11 sports, topped the final standings with 63 gold, 46 silver and 32 bronze medals.

But this time, Wang said they set no specific goal for medals.

China's Paralympic strength lies in athletics, swimming, table tennis and weightlifting.

"We are seeking breakthrough in wheelchair basketball, volleyball sitting and wheelchair tennis," said Wang.

The chef de mission said the delegation's "second goal is to show the spirit of the Chinese people."

The third goal, added Wang, is to "enhance exchange with foreign athletes in development of the cause of disabled people."

"Service to the disabled people in China lags behind despite rapid progress in recent years," said Wang, who is also vice chairman of the China Disabled Persons' Federation.

"The Paralympics will give us a chance to learn foreign expertise."

Wang noted the Beijing Paralympics will leave both tangible and intangible legacy.

"Hopefully people would care more about the disabled people, provide them with more opportunities for medical treatment, education, employment and safeguard their lawful rights," said Wang.

The Beijing Paralympics is scheduled to run from September 6 to 17, drawing more than 4,000 athletes from about 150 countries and regions.

To date, 1.19 million tickets, or 72 percent of the total, have been sold.

Source:Xinhua

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