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Paralympians have their work cut out

By Tang Zhe  (China Daily)

11:04, August 22, 2012

Wang Naikun, a deputy head of China's London Paralympics delegation, called on athletes to build on the success of China's Olympians at the London Paralympic Games, which will take place from Aug 29 to Sept 9.

China topped the medal tally with 89 gold, 70 silver and 52 bronze medals at the Beijing Paralympic Games four years ago. The country will send a 417-person delegation to London, including 282 athletes competing in 15 sports and 288 events.

London is expected to be more difficult for China than Beijing was.

"The medal competition will be extremely fierce in London. We have to prepare for every potential problem in Games held abroad, and our athletes are short of experience with 47 percent making their Paralympics debut," Wang said at a conference in Beijing on Tuesday.

"The Paralympic delegation should learn from the Olympic athletes to stay composed in the face of any difficulties or challenges, respect their opponents, the referees and the audiences, and resist doping," she said.

Jia Yong, a deputy head of the delegation, said the success of the Beijing Paralympic Games played a significant role in bringing more people with disabilities to sports.

"The Beijing Paralympics greatly boosted the development of Paralympic Games," Jia said. "A lot of foreign athletes have made considerable improvements and became aggressive in some events during the past four years. A lot of countries have put Paralympic events into common sports associations, which dramatically boosted the level of coaches and trainers in other countries."

Jia said sports are more important to people with disabilities because they can contribute to recovery, improve their ability to care for themselves and improve their social lives. Participating in large-scale events also brings a sense of honor and belonging.

"The Paralympics are not only a showcase for competition, but also an international platform for them to show their strong will and unyielding character to the world," said Zhang Haidi, president of China Disabled Person's Federation.

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