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Beijing Paralympics anniversary marked with winter sports events

By Cheng Si | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2023-02-08 09:07

Chen Jianxin (left) and Yan Zhuo, who helped China win gold at last year's wheelchair curling event during the 2022 Beijing Winter Paralympic Games, have a go at floor curling to commemorate the Games' anniversary and celebrate the launch of a winter sports carnival for disabled people in Beijing on Tuesday. LI HE/XINHUA

China will organize a series of winter events to celebrate the first anniversary of the successful hosting of the Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympics, with the aim of encouraging more disabled people to discover the joys of winter sports.

The China Disabled Persons' Federation and the Beijing Disabled Persons' Federation held the anniversary celebration in the capital's Yanqing district on Tuesday, announcing the follow-up events at the ceremony.

One of the events is an invitational wheelchair curling tournament to be held from Feb 22 to 26. Some 60 competitors from five provinces and cities including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong province will be invited.

Winter sports and entertainment events will also be organized in southern Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region and northeastern Heilongjiang province this month to encourage more disabled people to join. The federation said that these celebratory events and activities will be held until around late March.

"Winter sports are not only for us competitors, but for everyone who has an interest. I hope more disabled people can get out of their homes and gain happiness by taking part in these winter sports events," said Yan Zhuo, a gold medal winner in wheelchair curling at the Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympics.

Zheng Peng, a gold medal winner in cross-country skiing at the Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympics, said that it was winter sports that lifted him out of the shadows. "I was depressed being made paraplegic after an accident in 2011. Then I learned about winter sports through my friends and was very lucky to be admitted to a sports school for disabled people around 2013. Then I became a member of the national team in 2016 after years of training."

He said he was pleased that winter sports have been able to help some people with disabilities find more enjoyment and fulfillment in life.

"As for me, I feel more confident and positive in life. As the nation makes full use of its post-Games legacy and develops more accessible facilities and winter sports events for disabled people, I think more of my peers will be attracted by the charm of winter sports," Zheng said.

According to a recent report by the Beijing Olympic City Development Association, the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics have boosted the sustainable development of the nation's winter sports and tourism industries, whose market scale is projected to reach 1 trillion yuan ($147 billion) by 2025.

These Games have helped raise the public's awareness of caring for and supporting disabled people in their careers and personal development. The report said that as of October 2022, there were 229 million people nationwide registered as volunteers who have played a role in building a more inclusive society that is more friendly to people with disabilities.

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