Buk-gu Bandabi Sports Center, the first center among the 150 Bandabi Sports Centers construction projects and a legacy of the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games, opened on 18 August in Gwangju, Republic of Korea.
The Bandabi Sports Center is a key policy for activating Lifetime Para sports in Korea, established after the successful hosting of the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games.
This 'Paralympic Legacy' project is a large-scale sports infrastructure construction project for people with disabilities, which is unprecedented in the world.
The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President Andrew Parsons visited the Republic of Korea to attend the first Center's opening ceremony.
“It is a truly remarkable decision to build 150 Bandabi Sports Centers, closely related to daily life, as a legacy project of the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games," Parsons said. "We look forward to making a remarkable difference in the community.”
Jung Jin-owan, President of the Korea Paralympic Committee (KPC), added: “We will actively support the Bandabi Sports Center in Buk-gu, Gwangju to become a base for local physical education and to become an operating model for all Bandabi Sports Centers in the future.
“We will do our best to create a happy sports environment for people with disabilities in Korea where the disabilities we have are no longer obstacles.”
Earlier in the week, the IPC President met with the PyeongChang 2018 Chef de Mission of Team Korea, Bae Dong-hyun, who now serves as vice chairman of the Chang Sung Corporation, and Team Korea's then General Coach Jung Jin-owan, now KPC President.
They met at the Balios Equestrian Club in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province on 17 August.
The Balios Equestrian Club is the largest facility in the Republic of Korea to hold international competitions, and since 2017, it has been operating a rehabilitation riding class for people with disabilities, which allows people of different ages to experience riding and communicate with horses.
"It is fantastic to be in Korea and see some of the legacies of the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games," Parsons said of the meeting. "In Korea, Para sports are developing not only because of the government but also entrepreneurs like Mr. Bae, who are paying attention to social values. We are grateful for the active support of Mr. Bae to grow the impact of the Paralympic Movement in Korea.”
President Parsons promised to continue working with Jung Jin-owan and Bae Dong-hyun to further develop Para sports in the Republic of Korea and beyond, and his Korean counterparts echoed the sentiment.
"The Paralympic legacy of PyeongChang is improving the sports environment for the people with disabilities. I am very happy and grateful," Bae said. "I will continue to take social responsibility as an entrepreneur for the development of Para sports at home and abroad."