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British Ambassador visits Paralympians to mark 200 days countdown

Updated: 2012-02-15 17:36
( chinadaily.com.cn)

British Ambassador Sebastian Wood visited Shunyi Chinese Paralympian Training Centre on Tuesday to meet Paralympians. The visit marked the 200-day countdown to the opening of London Paralympics which falls on February 11.

At his visit to the biggest Chinese Paralympian training camp, Wood visited three Paralympic teams, namely, swimming, blind women's croquet and wheelchair boccia. He was accompanied by Mr. Jia Yong, the Executive Deputy Chairman of China’s Paralympic Committee.

The ambassador was briefed with the teams' preparation and work on Paralympians. Chatting with the Paralympians, the ambassador shared his excitement about the Games and London's warm welcome to Chinese Paralympians.

In return of a London Paralympic Games mascot as gift from the ambassador, the croquet team presented him a T-Shirt with team signatures and also invited him to wear a blind mask to feel their blind world. He also visited the exhibition of Chinese Paralympic movement.

Wood said he was moved by the Beijing Paralympics and the Chinese Paralympians and wished them a good luck in London.

The UK has set out to host the most accessible Olympic and Paralympic Games ever. Hosting the Paralympics in 2012 will be a particularly special moment for the UK as the country that founded the Paralympic movement in 1948 and put disability sport on the map.

The original Paralympic movement began in Britain. Dr Ludwig Guttman held the first disability sport competition: an archery competition, for wounded WWII war veterans in 1948. In 2012 almost 4,200 athletes will compete in 20 sports in 15 different venues.

London 2012 is the first Games where the planning and organization of the Olympics and Paralympics has been fully integrated. Disability access has been incorporated into the design and structure of the buildings, open spaces and public transport for 2012. Everything has been done in consultation with disability advisory groups.

"The Games is about more than just sport. It gives us the chance to change the way people think, feel and behave towards people with a disability and to create a more open and inclusive society," the ambassador said.

He also said, "We also hope the Games encourage more disabled people into sport at the grassroots level. We want to inspire young people to become the next generation of Paralympians, but also to demonstrate how sport can enrich the lives of disabled people. Their disability should not be a barrier."

British Ambassador visits Paralympians to mark 200 days countdown

British Ambassador to China Sebastian Wood meets members of the blind women's croquet team at the Shunyi Chinese Paralympian Training Center in Beijing on Tuesday, February 14, 2012. [Photo/chinadaily.com.cn]

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