sharing the Olympic spirit

Paralympic Games organizers vow to improve disabled access
(China Daily)
Updated: 2006-09-06 11:19


Beijing yesterday promised to improve disabled access to public transport facilities in time for the 2008 Paralympic Games.

"The building of obstacle-free facilities in the city is a key part of the preparation work for the 2008 Paralympic Games," said Tang Xiaoquan, executive vice-president of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG), just one day before the two-year countdown to the 13th Paralympic Games.

According to Tang, who is also vice-president and secretary-general of the China Disabled Persons' Federation, facilities for disabled persons, such as ramps, are being set up at all entrances to newly built subway stations, and the renovation work of transportation vehicles is underway.

"Forty-six new subway entrances are being worked on right now and renovations of old subway stations are under discussion," said Tang. "I believe in 2008 an obstacle-free transportation system will provide qualified services to all athletes and spectators."

Besides the transportation system, special facilities for disabled people are being set up at the venues.

"Since 16 venues for the 2008 Olympic Games will also be used for the Paralympic Games, disabled facilities are being installed during construction," said Tang. "Currently facilities are being installed in seven venues that are under construction, and the plans for the remaining nine are being researched and discussed."

The Beijing Paralympic Games will be held on September 6-17, 2008, opening 13 days after the 29th Olympic Games end on August 24.

With 20 sports, it promises to be the largest Paralympics in history. Eighteen sports will be held in Beijing, with sailing in Qingdao and equestrian events in Hong Kong. A total of 471 gold medals will be awarded.

It is estimated that over 4,000 athletes and 2,500 coaches as well as officials from approximately 150 countries and regions will take part in the Beijing Paralympics.

As revealed by BOCOG, the mascot of the 2008 Paralympic Games will be launched today to mark the two-year countdown to the Games.

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