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Parents take Paralympics good opportunity to educate younger generation
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21:33, September 12, 2008

Quietly sitting there and watching the final match of boccia BC3 class between Spain and South Korea in Beijing on Friday, Yuan Ye looked a little bit puzzled.

"I don't quite understand it," the nine-year-old boy said, while keeping his eyes on the players with cerebral palsy who sit in wheelchairs and toss the ball with a stick tied to their heads or held with their mouths.

"They have fantastic skills," he said.

Neither did his mother Chen Hui understand the rules. However, Chen still thought it's a good idea to take her son to watch the game.

She said it's a good opportunity for the boy, who doesn't know how to deal with difficulties in life.

"Next time, when he comes across a problem and considers to give up, the game he watched today may give him the strength to overcome it," she said.

Eight-year-old Yang Yuxi had already known her parents' thought when she arrived at the Bird's Nest.

"I admire the athletes for their courage," said Yang, who had never seen a disabled person with her own eyes before.

She also took some pictures of the Paralympians.

"I'll show the pictures to my classmates and let them know how great the athletes are," she said.

Schools also took the opportunity.

In the Primary School Attached to the Shandong Agricultural University in east China's Shandong Province, Wang Cuiyu, a student in Grade 4, told her classmates the story of powerlifter Zhang Haidong, who won three consecutive Paralympics, during the first class of the new semester.

"He lost his legs but didn't give up his dream. We should learn from him," Wang said.

Actually, many schools' education started before the Paralympics.

In May, the basketball team of Beijing Huiwen Middle School played a match with the Beijing wheelchair basketball team.

"They (the disabled players) are excellent basketball players with good skill of ball-passing," said Li Ran, one of the student players.

The students also tried to tie their shoestrings with one hand, and played goalball with their eyes closed to gain more understandings about the life of the disabled people.

Jin Jing, the wheelchair fencer and Olympic torchbearer known for protecting the torch from protestors in Paris leg of the relay, said the education is effective for the younger generation, most of whom are single child of the family.

"Some of them have been spoiled and may easily give in to difficulties," she said.

She said the Paralympics will help the children realize what a happy life they have been leading and help them to know how to get through the real low ebbs of life.

"They will learn to be strong," she said.


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