The Lord Mayor of Bonn, Bärbel Dieckmann, State Secretary Dr. Christoph Bergner. Dr. Karl-Gerhard Eick, Chief Financial Officer and Deputy Chairman Deutsche Telekom AG, Dr. Gerhard Rupprecht, Member of the Executive Board Allianz SE as well as Lord Sebastian Coe, Chairman of the London 2012 Organizing Committee, members of the IPC Governing Board and seven Paralympian Ambassadors were among the guests and speakers to celebrate the beginning of the Chinese “Year of the Rat”. Beijing 2008 Organizing Committee (BOCOG) Executive Vice President Wang Wei sent his best wishes via video message.
In his welcoming speech, IPC President Sir Philip Craven looked back at the year that had past, highlighting the Arafura and Rio 2007 Parapan American Games, the International Paralympic Day in Berlin as well as the successful IPC General Assembly in Seoul, Korea. Looking ahead, he was confident that the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games will be a next highlight and will once again inspire and excite the world.
“Tonight we have our sights set on the next challenge, the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games, which will take place in just over six months from today. The preparations are well underway and from all I have seen in Beijing, I can only recommend that you all attend the Games and watch the athletes compete at their best”, stated Sir Philip.
Both the City of Bonn and Allianz SE and Deutsche Telekom AG emphasized their continuous support for sport for persons with a disability and the Paralympic Movement.
Various highlights videos enriched the evening and inspired the guests.