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FESPIC Games for the disabled to open in Kuala Lumpur

Updated: 2006-11-24 11:16

The Chinese national flag was raised on Thursday for the 9th Far East and South Pacific Games (FESPIC) on the Merdeka Square of Kuala Lumpur during a welcoming ceremony.

A total of 47 countries and regions, a FESPIC Games record, have confirmed to send their paralympic athletes to the 9th FESPIC Games, the last FESPIC Games before the change to Asian Para Games to be held in 2010.

Zainal Abu Zarin, 9th FESPIC Games Chief Executive Officer, said during the welcoming ceremony: "After months of intensive preparations, at last we are now ready to host about 5,000 athletes and officials. The crucial test is yet to be faced by the Malaysian Paralympic Council but we assure you of our readiness to host the second biggest event for the disabled after the Paralympics. However to be host to the last FESPIC Games is proof of the FESPIC Federation's faith in the country's capabilities, as this is also one of the biggest sporting events that Malaysia is entrusted to organize."

"You are indeed a special group of people. Unlike able athletes, you have to try harder to overcome challenges and achieve excellence," he added.

En Zulkifli Ibrahim, deputy mayor of Kuala Lumpur, said: "It is a great honour for me and the city of Kuala Lumpur to welcome you to the 9th FESPIC Games. As we say in our language Selamat Datang. I have been made to understand that the FESPIC Games is the second biggest game for the disabled after the Paralympic Games, and one of the biggest games in the world."

After the raising of Malaysian national flag, the flags of FESPIC, 9th FESPIC Games and all participating countries and regions were all raised at the same time.

Wang Xinxian, chef de mission of the Chinese delegation, said: "The FESPIC Games embodies an atmosphere of harmony for all the disabled despite their various countries and nationalities. The Games provide a better environment that gives the disabled more dignity. We expect a society without any hurdles for the disabled. "

China had dominated the past five FESPIC Games by taking the top spot on the final gold medal standings.

China had entered nearly 300 athletes for the week-long Games here, which is the largest Chinese representation at the region's major sporting event for the disabled.

The Games will feature 19 sports, among which the Chinese are to compete in 289 events of 17 sports including athletics, swimming, power lifting, judo etc.

At the latest version in Busan, South Korea in 2002, China won 191 golds, 90 silvers and 50 bronzes, topping the gold medal tally in five consecutive Games.