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IPC president hails big, better Beijing Paralympics
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13:15, September 17, 2008

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) president Philip Craven Wednesday lauded the Beijing Paralympics for its quantity and quality.

Craven said he had been receiving very positive feedbacks.

"These games have been great games. I think everybody realizes that," said Craven at a press conference in the Main Press Center prior to the closing ceremony. "I just have breakfast at the Swiss Hotel and the people have just been coming up and saying congratulations or giving me the thumbs up or all sorts positive."

"There has been positive feedback from everyone I have spoken to," he said.

Craven said the Beijing Paralympics in the Chinese capital attracted historic high media coverage and attention from around the world and more athletes competed here than ever.

"We had more media than ever before, more broadcast than ever before and IPC Youtube channels had 1.1 million visitors during Games time and will have more to come of course with it not yet finished," said Craven.

Five thousand five hunderd journalists worldwide reported the Sept. 6-17 Games and there were more than 1,100 hours of broadcast coverage. The IPC also launched two online TV channels www.ParalympicSport.TV and www.youtube.com/paralympicsporttv, offering fans free Games videos up to eight hours per day.

The Athens Paralympics four years ago attracted more than 3,000 journalists and saw 617 hours of broadcast coverage.

Craven was also proud of the record-high number of athletes participating.

There have been 4,032 athletes from 147 countries and regions competing in 20 sports at the Games while Athens had 3,806 athletes from 136 delegations took part in 19 sports.

High attendance rate was another source of satisfaction for Craven as the former wheelchair basketball player was happy to see that fans filled the landmark National Stadium "Bird's Nest" to watch Paralympic sports.

"When the Chinese athletes came by in the T11 5,000 meters earlier in the Games, 90,000 in the stadium, and as he pasted, the roof went off the stadium. I mean, what more do you want?" he said.

Zhang Zhen won the men's T11 5,000 meters race in the packed Bird's Nest on Sept. 9.

BOCOG, the organizers for the Beijing Olympics and Paralympics, said the competitions were watched by over one million spectators.

"Up to date, a total of 1,292,000 tickets have been sold to the public," said BOCOG spokesperson Wang Wei.

And nine of 11 competition sessions on Tuesday receive nearly capacity spectators, he added.

Source: Xinhua

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