ParalympicsOfficialAthletesTeam ChinaGame News
Feature: Paralympics infuse courage, confidence into disabled spectatorNigerian powerlifter fulfills dream at Beijing ParalympicsAustralia powers off China for third win of men's wheelchair basketball82.96 mln disabled people with social security in ChinaSouth Korean archery couple to get married in December Beijing: Moderate rain 24-17 ℃
Feature: Paralympics infuse courage, confidence into disabled spectator
 + -  
17:16, September 09, 2008

When Chinese para-swimmer He Junquan broke the world record in the Water Cube pool on Monday morning, Zhao Erbiao stood up from his wheelchair by holding the guardrail in front of him, and cheered his compatriot on in the loudest possible voice.

"I almost lost my voice," said the 36-year-old.

The excitement lasted even after Zhao, in a striped T-shirt, blue trousers and delicately-polished leather shoes, walked out of the venue.

Accompanied by a friend, Zhao took a lot of pictures with his digital camera in the Olympic Green, the central area for the ongoing Beijing Paralympic Games, where the National Aquatics Center is located.

Although he had to go back to his home province of Hebei in north China in the afternoon after the only one-day trip, co-organized by a local oil company and a non-governmental organization, Zhao said he felt greatly satisfied.

"Finally I have seen the Paralympic venue with my own eyes," he said.

It was Zhao's second trip to Beijing. Four years ago, he visited the capital with other members of the organization, named "Zhang Hua Green Home" after its deceased founder, who died of uremia in 2004.

In his previous trip to Beijing, Zhao and his friends came across difficulties as their wheelchairs could not get into the underpass to reach the Tian'anmen Rostrum, a symbol of Beijing in the heart of the city.

"Eventually it was a kind-hearted policeman who let us through on the surface of the Chang'an Avenue," he recalled. The avenue usually has bars in the middle to separate traffic on either side.

But another experience back in Hebei hurt him more. Once he took a bus to another city with a heavy box. The bus dropped him off on one side of the road, while his destination lay on the other.

Unable to cross the road with that box by himself, Zhao waited in vain for a while for someone to help, and then asked a passer-by to do him the favor. But to his surprise, the young man asked him for five yuan.

"I gave him the money without a word, but I was really hurt," he said.

While most people in the society were nice and willing to offer a helping hand, a few frustrating experiences like what he had encountered may deter some disabled people from going out of their homes and traveling around, said Zhao.

"Maybe that's why I didn't see many disabled spectators in the venue today," he added.

Born in 1972, Zhao was disabled by poliomyelitis when he was just eight months old. With the help of crutches, he finished junior middle school but didn't continue his education.

"At that time, I believed I was mainly discouraged by the multi-storey building in the high school. The primary and junior schools I attended only had single-storey buildings," he said.

But now he found out that his own inferiority complex might have been the true reason behind his drop-out.

"I think I lost my faith in the future when some people told me that no college would accept me even if I could pass the admission examination," he admitted.

Zhao then followed the path of many disabled people in China, a country with 83 million disabled, by working in one of the tens of thousands of "welfare factories," which are funded by the government to offer job opportunities to the disabled.

Later on, he also tried to start some small businesses, but all failed. It was not until 2003 that he found his life's direction. He took part in the "Zhang Hua Green Home," and with five other disabled friends he met there, he established a small agency of housing brokerage.

And he also met his wife, who has spinal deformity, in a party held by the organization. They got married and gave birth to a daughter.

"She is very beautiful," Zhao said with pride.

He now runs the agency with his wife and has a monthly income of around 4,000 yuan (about 588 U.S. dollars). In spare time, he keeps taking part in the organization's activities.

In 2004, Zhao, along with a few others, was invited to the Cangzhou prison in Hebei to tell the inmates their stories of survival and success.

Last year, one of the audience was released after serving his term of more than 10 years, and came to Zhao for help as he didn't know how to find a job. Zhao found him a place in a small factory nearby.

"We do need help and more public concerns, but meanwhile we can also contribute to the society," he said.

Zhao had a bigger dream -- to establish a university for the disabled people when he makes enough money.

"Education is very important for the disabled," he said, reflecting on his own experiences.

Having kept this dream as a secret only to himself for a long time, Zhao found the courage and confidence to speak it out to everyone after watching the Paralympic competition on Monday.

"When I saw He Junquan, who had no arms, and other athletes with severe disabilities swim so fast in the pool, I couldn't help asking myself -- If they can do it, why can't you?" he said.


Comments Related News
Send your wishes or comments to Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games
1 Great Britain 11 9 3 23
2 China 10 12 12 34
3 USA 8 4 5 17
4 Australia 6 6 11 23
5 Ukraine 4 4 5 13
           Overall Medal Standings
Most Popular News
·China opens Beijing Paralympic Games in celebration of life and humanity
·Chinese president meets German counterpart, Japanese guest
·Video: Opening Ceremony of Beijing Paralympic Games
·Chinese president confident of delivering high-standard Paralympic Games with distinctive features
·Paralympic athletes parade in National Stadium
Latest Photos
Shoot for my dream
Shoot for my dream
Latest Videos
Video: Paralympic toch relay
Video: Paralympic toch relay
Special for You
Learn Chinese
Learn Chinese
Olympic Songs & Videos
Olympic Songs & Videos
What to eat
What to eat
Where to Relax
Where to Relax
Chinese Arts
Chinese Arts
Chinese Festivals
Chinese Festivals
Copyright © 1997-2008 by all rights reserved