SHANGHAI: Nearly two-dozen special activities took place in this city
yesterday as part of the celebrations to mark the 100-day countdown to the
Shanghai Special Olympics 2007.
The celebrations got underway with a 6.5-km fun run in which some 20,000
people took part. The youngest participant, snuggled in his father's arms, was
only eight months old, while the oldest was 85. Some participants were mentally
Art shows, a rummage sale, autograph-signing and donation ceremonies also
marked the day.
"I came here to give my support to mentally handicapped people. They are just
like you and me," said Wang Junxia, a former 5,000-m Olympic champion who lead
"And they can compete and live just like anyone else. I would like to call on
all sections of society to pay attention to these people."
Han Zheng, mayor of Shanghai and chairman of the organizing committee of the
Special Olympics, said preparations for the event were well underway, and
creating a proper atmosphere for the Games and mentally handicapped people in
general was a priority.
"We are not building new venues, and we're not making a profit from the
Games. Our goal is to get more people involved to create a civilized and
harmonious environment for mentally handicapped people," Han said at the
ceremony to mark the 100-day countdown.
The 12th Special Olympics World Summer Games will be held in Shanghai from
October 2 to 11. More than 10,000 athletes and coaches and 20,000 family members
from more than 160 countries and regions are expected to show up.