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Swedish princess praises Games
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11:04, September 15, 2008

The Paralympic Games has played a key role in changing perceptions of what people with disabilities can achieve, Swedish Crown Princess Victoria said on Saturday in Beijing.

"Just the fact that so many athletes have performed beyond their capacity and beyond what everyone expected them to do is wonderful," she said.

An active advocate for the welfare of people with disabilities, the princess is personally involved in many humanitarian initiatives in Sweden.

Created in 1997, the Crown Princess Victoria Fund provides support for children and youths with functional disabilities and chronic illnesses.

The fund raises private and public donations to encourage young children to participate in sports activities, the princess said.

"For instance, sailing is a very expensive sport. So we try to give them the opportunity to at least try it."

While in China, the princess went to cheer for the Swedish sailing team in Qingdao, a co-host city of the Beijing Paralympics.

"It's difficult because many of them have parallel competitions, so we've really been trying to watch as many as possible," she said.

The princess said it was fun and inspiring to have lunch with some of the Swedish athletes during her visit to the Paralympic village.

"They are wonderful role models and extremely inspiring. It's amazing to know how much they have been practicing in order to come here in the first place."

The princess was also full of praise for the efforts China made to prepare and organize the Paralympic Games.

"I'm constantly amazed by how things have been arranged.

"And it's something that my mother told me as well before coming," she said.

The Swedish royal family has long been keen supporters of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. King Carl XVI Gustaf, Queen Silvia and Prince Carl Philip attended the Beijing Olympics last month.

"It's everyone's right to have a decent life and to fulfil themselves and see what they like to do. It's so much more expensive for society not to do that," the princess said.

Source: China Daily

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