Paralympic movement prosperous in China, says sports official

Xinhuanet 2002-12-04 21:42:04

??BEIJING, Dec. 4 (Xinhuanet) -- China will make unremitting efforts to promote sports by the physically or mentally disabled people, aleading official of the Chinese Paralympic Committee said here on Wednesday.

??And China will firmly honor its commitment to the international Paralympic movement, said Li Zhijun, vice-president of the country's National Paralympic Committee and a leading member of the Chinese Disabled Persons' Federation (CDPF).

??Li made the comments when meeting here on Wednesday with PhilipCraven, president of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC),the world governing body of sports by physically disabled athletes.

??Craven is a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC)Coordination Commission which is visiting the Chinese capital, which was granted by IOC in July last year the right to host the 2008 Olympic Games.

??The Chinese Paralympic Committee and the CDPF have set up 33 branch organizations throughout China, which has a disabled population of more than 60 million, Li said.

??The physically handicapped people enjoy 14 Paralympic sports such as archery, athletics, swimming, powerlifting, judo, shooting,wheelchair basketball and sitting volleyball. Chinese athletes competed in six sports in the 2000 Paralympic Games in Sydney.

??China holds annual national championships for Paralympic sportsand has held five national games for the disabled every four years.The 6th national games are set for September 2003, with an expected field of 3,000, according to Li.

??China will be more actively involved in Paralympic movement by taking part in or hosting more international events. The country will host in 2003 the 4th Far East and South Pacific (FESPIC) table tennis championships and is bidding for hosting the Gold Cupinternational wheelchair basketball tournament, Li said.

??The Chinese Paralympic Committee is co-operating with the IPC so as to get help in such fields as training of referees, classification personnel and coaches, and provision of up-to-date information about the Paralympic development.

??The IPC chief promised to offer all-around assistance to the Beijing Organizing Committee for the 2008 Olympic Games so as to make the 2008 Games "the best ever Paralympic Games."

??Li also introduced to the visitors China's target plan for the 2004 and 2008 Paralympic Games, in Athens and Beijing, respectively.

??The Chinese official also released China's planned targets for the Athens and Beijing Paralympic Games. "We will try to have 150athletes qualified for 10 sports for Athens and our target for the2008 Games in Beijing is to have 400 athletes eligible for all the18 sports on the program," Li said.

??"That will be a big rise compared to your presentation at the 2000 Paralympic Games," Craven happily responded. Enditem