Games breaking down the barriers

By SUN XIAOCHEN | China Daily Global | Updated: 2021-05-17 09:16
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Beijing 2022 organizers and representatives from the China Disabled Persons' Federation join para-sports athletes at an event on Saturday to celebrate the 31st National Day for Aiding Disabled People, which since 1991 has fallen on the third Sunday in May. A Paralympic-themed commemorative envelope and licensed Beijing 2022 souvenirs were unveiled during the event. JIANG DONG/CHINA DAILY

Organizers, property owners and public health experts have joined forces on a special task force to develop a set of meticulous COVID-19 countermeasures to guarantee everyone's safety at the Games.

The construction and refurbishment of 25 non-competition venues for media operations, ceremonies and accommodation will be completed by August, laying a solid foundation for the 10-day Paralympics to proceed as planned.

"After running tests in competition organization and the operation of transport, security and medical services, we are now 100 percent confident that the event will be held on schedule and in a safe manner for all participants," said Yang Jinkui, Beijing 2022's director of the Paralympic Games.

Still, some tweaks are required-such as the length and angle of wheelchair ramps at certain venues-in order to perfect the Games experience for all para-athletes, Yang added.

Having hosted the Summer Paralympics in 2008, organizers hope Beijing's role reprisal will benefit the everyday lives of disabled people in China.

"The efforts and sacrifices of all para-athletes deserve more attention and support, not just for the 10-day period during the Paralympics but also for the longer term throughout their careers," said Yang Yang, a retired Winter Olympic champion speed skater and chairman of Beijing 2022's athletes commission.

"The focus on barrier-free facilities will be extended after the Games to help make real changes in communities and commercial sports facilities, providing equal access and convenience for people with disabilities to be able to enjoy ice and snow sports," added Yang Yang.

As a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, Yang Yang has promised to leverage her influence within the top political advisory body to propose better planning and increased investment in barrier-free facilities across the country.

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