Nation sends record number to Paralympics

2022-02-22 08:22:43China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download
Special: 2022 Winter Olympics

Competition will cover 78 events in 6 sports, showcase great Games' spirit

With the goal of "showing the spirit of Chinese athletes and the progress of the nation's parasports development", China will send a record 96 athletes to compete at the upcoming Beijing Paralympic Winter Games, which will start on March 4.

The Chinese delegation, the sixth China will have sent to Winter Paralympics since 2002, was officially formed on Monday in Beijing. The delegation has 217 members: 96 athletes and 121 from the coaching team, support crew and medical team.

"We hope the athletes will overcome all challenges and be united as a team. With great fighting spirit, I also hope they will enjoy the Paralympic Winter Games. I hope our athletes will have good results and show great spirit at the Games," said Zhang Haidi, head of the Chinese delegation and chairwoman of the China Disabled Persons' Federation.

The Paralympic Winter Games, which feature 78 events from six sports, will take place in three competition zones-downtown Beijing, the capital's northwest Yanqing district and co-host city Zhangjiakou in Hebei province.

Team China will compete in 73 events of the six sports.

China sent only four athletes to the 2002 Paralympics. In Sochi 2014, before China won the bid to host the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics in 2015, Team China participated in just six events of two sports. The growing number of participants over the years is the best evidence of the development of the nation's Paralympic winter sports.

"Since we won the bid in 2015, we have welcomed the great opportunity to develop Paralympic winter sports. And thanks to our yearslong efforts, we have made great progress," said Yong Zhijun, deputy director of the China Disabled Persons' Federation's sports department.

"Since 2016, we have participated in more and more international tournaments, winning medals, and we have made many breakthroughs over the past few years. A milestone was at the 2018 Paralympics, when our wheelchair curlers won our first Winter Paralympic gold.

"In 2021, we participated in the test events of the Beijing Paralympic Winter Games. We made our preparations, and we are familiar with the venues."

The average age of the Team China athletes is 25, the oldest is 45-year-old Alpine skier Zhang Haiyuan, and the youngest is 17-year-old snowboarder Geng Yanhong.

The Chinese para-athletes come from 12 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities. They are all amateur athletes and are students, farmers, company workers and freelancers.

Yong said: "Despite the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, we have kept training. All of us hope to achieve great results at Beijing 2022."


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