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Chinese Para-Equestrian athletes make historic debut
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17:16, September 08, 2008

Peng Yulian of China and Yip Sui Hong of China's Hong Kong made their historic debut in the Paralympic Games on Monday when they stepped out to compete in the Grade II Individual Championship Test in Dressage at Shatin arena.

Applause from the crowd at the Shatin Equestrian Venue greeted Peng and Yip when the two entered the competition arena. It is the first time that China and China's Hong Kong have sent riders in the Para-Dressage events.

Peng placed 9th out of 18 riders with 64.545 percentage points while Yip scored 50.545 points to rank 18th.

At an early age, Peng, now 22, suffered from poliomyelitis which left his legs paralyzed. In overcoming his disability, he trained in archery and played wheelchair basketball in his secondary school years, and also took up riding.

He progressed so well that in March 2006 he became a member of the national Para-equestrian squad. He competed in last year's World Championships in Hartpury, England, and gained much experience from the tournament.

Success on his home turf came in March this year. He won both the Individual Championship and the Freestyle in the Guangdong International Para-equestrian Dressage Championship.

Yip, 39, has difficulty in using his legs because of cerebral palsy. His attraction to riding began at the age of eight with a visit to the local Riding for the Disabled Association. But it was not until 2001 that he decided to take up riding seriously as a hobby.

His motivation grew after he attended a riding camp in Wales in 2002. A year later he competed in the Japan Asia pacific Dressage Championships in Kyoto.

An important success came in 2005 when he placed first in Freestyle and Musical Dressage in the Australian Riding for the Disabled Association's National Dressage Championships.

Yip, riding ICY BET, a bay gelding, and Peng on Furstendonner AF, a black stallion, stayed focused as they performed their walk and trot movements before the home crowd.

Yip qualified for the Beijing Paralympic Games, and was Hong Kong's sole representative when he scored good marks at the Pacific Rim International Para-Dressage competition held in Vancouver, Canada, last year.

Peng and Yip will also compete in Freestyle tests on Sept. 10.

The development and promotion of the sport in China take place under the auspices of the China Administration of Sports for Persons with Disabilities.

More people are encouraged to take up riding as the sport becomes more widely promoted. In Hong Kong, the sport has been growing steadily through the efforts of the Riding for the Disabled Association in conjunction with the Hong Kong Equestrian Federation.

Source: Xinhua

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