International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President Sir Philip Craven has called on the Paralympic Movement to take advantage of a unique opportunity to build on the legacy of the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games by delivering a highly successful 2010 Asian Para Games in Guangzhou, China.
Starting this Sunday (12 December) until 19 December, more than 2,500 athletes from 41 countries are set to compete in Guangzhou and, speaking at dinner organized by the Guangzhou Asian Para Games Organizing Committee (GAPGOC) to welcome the IPC Governing Board to the Games, Sir Philip highlighted just how important the next 10 days are to the Paralympic Movement.
Sir Philip Craven said: “It is very rare for a country to stage such a major event like the Asian Para Games so soon after it has staged the Paralympic Games.
“This gives us a superb chance to build on the legacy of the most successful Paralympic Games ever which were staged in Beijing two years ago.
“Asia is changing faster than any other continent in the world and it is vital that the Paralympic Movement is part of that change.”
In preparation for the Asian Para Games, GAPGOC, local Government and a number of stakeholders have made significant improvements to the city’s infrastructure, changes that should be long lasting according to the IPC President.
Sir Philip Craven said: “The creation of a number of barrier free environments must not end on Sunday 19 December when these Games close. They should be permanent and part of the legacy these Games leave.
“A number of barriers have been broken down in Guangzhou and I am 100% certain that our athletes will help break down social barriers with some unforgettable performances over the next week.
“The success of these Games should not just be judged on the performances of the athletes or which country tops the medal table.
“Long-term these Games will be judged on what legacy they leave here in Guangzhou. And that legacy starts now that our athletes are here and ready to compete.”
The IPC President, who landed in Guangzhou on Wednesday evening, has so far been impressed with what he has seen in China’s ‘Flower City’ and believes it will act as an incentive to the athletes.
Sir Philip Craven, IPC President, said: “From the moment you step off the plane here in Guangzhou, you cannot fail to notice just how proud this city is in staging the 2010 Asian Para Games.
“I am sure the 2,500 athletes from 41 nations who are competing here will repay that pride with performances that are just as colourful and vibrant as the flowers that decorate this great city.
“This city has created some superb venues for our athletes to compete in and I am confident that the thousands of spectators who come out over the next week will not fail to be impressed by the courage and determination of our athletes.”
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.