To mark the start of nine days of activity in Beijing, China, that will climax with the 15th International Paralympic Committee (IPC) General Assembly next weekend, the Mayor of Beijing, Guo Jinlong, hosted a welcome banquet on Sunday (4 December), where he reiterated his support for the Paralympic Movement.
More than 200 members of National Paralympic Committees, International Sporting Federations, Committees and Councils are in the Chinese capital this week, and many heard Mayor Jinlong talk of a renewed impetus to carry on the good work started back in 2008, when Beijing staged the Paralympic Games.
Mayor Guo Jinlong said: “These successful conferences and sports events have greatly promoted the exchanges and co-operation between organizations for people with a disability around the world and the rapid development of sports programmes for people with a disability in Beijing.
“That the 2011 IPC General Assembly and Conference are held in Beijing not only demonstrates that the IPC attaches importance to Beijing and has trust in Beijing, it also offers a new opportunity to bring our exchanges and co-operation to a new level.
“We will put more emphasis on developing sports programmes for people with a disability. By taking the IPC General Assembly and Conference as an opportunity, we will deepen our co-operation with the IPC and other national and regional organizations for people with a disability, and move forward undertakings for people with a disability and make a greater contribution to a better future for all mankind.”
Sir Philip Craven, IPC President, commented that Beijing will forever hold a special place in the heart of the Paralympic Movement.
“Beijing and its people have always been extremely hospitable towards everyone from the Paralympic Family and we had no hesitation in choosing this great city for our forthcoming activities,” he said.
“In 2008, Beijing staged quite simply the best ever Paralympic Games, setting a very high benchmark for future Games.”
Sir Philip Craven went on to highlight the significant legacy left by the 2008 Games.
“The Beijing Paralympic Games produced something very special. They changed the way people in China view people with an impairment, a societal legacy that will last forever,” he remarked.
“The Chinese society we see today is unrecognizable to what we first saw in July 2001 when it was announced that Beijing would stage the Games.”
The IPC General Assembly, which takes place from 10-11 December, is the meeting of the supreme governing body of the IPC. It meets every two years and is comprised of International Sports Federations, National Paralympic Committees, International Organizations for Sports for the Disabled and Regional Organizations.
It last met in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2009, when the current IPC Governing Board was elected.
The IPC Governing Board meeting on Saturday and Sunday kicked off the 10 days of activity in Beijing.
On Monday, the IPC hosted its Sports Council meeting involving all Paralympic sports, and on Thursday and Friday, Beijing will stage the IPC Conference.