The 2010 Asian Para Games will kick off this evening (12 December) in Guangzhou, China with an Opening Ceremony that will be broadcast to more than a billion people worldwide and is described by organizers as ‘truly spectacular’.
The week long Games will see around 2,500 athletes from 41 countries take part in 19 sports and is the first time that the Asian Para Games have taken place back-to-back with the Asian Games in the same city.
To mark the start of the Games, Guangzhou’s 80,000 capacity Aoti Main Stadium will stage the Official Ceremony which will feature 4,500 performers, 200 of which will have a disability.
Based on a story of love, the Ceremony will be in three parts – each with an emotional theme to convey love among family, society and people with a disability.
Chen Guo, Deputy Secretary General of Guangzhou Asian Para Games, said: “The opening ceremony will focus on sentiment, plot and scene design, featuring the true love and caring for people with a disability.”
To help convey love among family, more than 300 mothers of athletes, from both China and abroad, will join their children during the athletes’ parade.
In his opening speech Asian Paralympic Committee President Dato’ Zainal Abu Zarin is expected to talk about China’s unwavering commitment to the Paralympic Movement whilst calling on athletes to enjoy the opportunity of a lifetime.
Joining around 2,500 athletes in Guangzhou for the Asian Para Games are 1,451 team officials, 1,094 technical officials and over 2,000 accredited media from around the world.
China, the host country, will field a total of 448 athletes, 76 of them were gold medal winners at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games.
The Asian Para Games take place from 12-19 December and will see athletes competing in 19 sports which are: Archery, Athletics, Badminton, Boccia, Cycling, Football 5-a-side, Football 7-a-side, Goalball, Judo, Powerlifting, Rowing, Shooting, Swimming, Table Tennis, Ten Pin Bowling, Volleyball (sitting), Wheelchair Basketball, Wheelchair Fencing, Wheelchair Tennis.