Foreign media, leaders laud Paralympics, closing ceremony

Updated: 2008-09-18 11:14


BEIJING -- Foreign media and world leaders Wednesday lavished praise on the Beijing Paralympic Games and its closing ceremony.

International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President Philip Craven puts a paper red leaf into his pocket before delivering a speech at the Games' closing ceremony in the National Stadium in Beijing on Wednesday night. [Xinhua]

French media said that the 2008 Beijing Paralympics provided a stage for excellent performances by disabled athletes from around the world, drawing a great deal of international attention.

With their relentless efforts, some of the disabled athletes achieved results that could rival that of normal athletes, French sports daily L'Equipe said, adding that the wonderful performances of "Blade Runner" Oscar Pistorius, South African amputee swimmer Natalie du Toit and Poland's Natalia Partyka among others even made people forget their physical disability.

Meanwhile, AFP said the Beijing Paralympics is the grandest in history as it drew the participation of over 4,000 athletes from some 150 countries and regions.

The BBC reported that once again, the Beijing Paralympic Games organizers produced a ceremony packed with light, sound and choreography, lapped up by a capacity Bird's Nest audience.

It said Philip Craven, the International Paralympic Committee chief, paid tribute to "the best ever Paralympic villages, a never-ending and self-generating supply of passion and emotion, superb organization and wonderful volunteers" in his speech.

He hailed the "millions of new Paralympic sports aficionados both here in China and around the world," the BBC reported.

Italian sports TV Rai Sport piu hailed the successful conclusion of the 12-day Beijing 2008 Paralympics Wednesday, saying the event was as wonderful as last month's Olympics.

With the same magnificent show of fireworks, the Chinese capital city of Beijing swiftly turned into a Paralympic town in early September from an Olympic town in August, the TV broadcaster said.

President of the Spanish Paralympic Committee, Miguel Carballeda, said in an exclusive interview with Xinhua that the scale, organization and facilities of the Beijing Paralympics were all unprecedented and even the future hosts would find it hard to exceed that.

The Beijing Games can be called a "role model" with its precise organization, orderly process and hospitality of the spectators during the Games which have enormously inspired the athletes' morale, he said.

Journalists of Spanish news agency EFE spoke highly of the closing ceremony of the Paralympics, saying that the show, together with the opening ceremony, was just as spectacular as that of the Olympics a month ago.

The efforts by China to host the Paralympics have drawn more world attention to disabled people and their Games, they told Xinhua.

A presenter on Spanish state television, which ran a live broadcast of the closing ceremony, said the grandiose show was held with considerable sensitivity to handicapped people.

The ceremony, together with the achievements by the athletes, whose number also scored a record, has brought to an end a successful Paralympics, said the presenter.

Belgium's  Belga news agency said the Paralympics and the summer Olympics were equally successful.

"Comparing Olympic and Paralympic Games, China promised to offer 'two games of equal splendor.' For International Paralympic Committee President Philip Craven, the goal is reached," said Belga.

The Paralympic Games were marked by flawless organization and a high degree of involvement by the Chinese public, said the Belgian news agency.

The Paralympics, which attracted 4,000 athletes from some 150 countries and territories for 12 days, managed to overshadow disability thanks to the performance of increasingly better trained and more professional athletes, said Belga.

Beijing has fulfilled its mission with the success of the 2008 Paralympics, which moves the whole world again, Brazil's media giant Globo said Wednesday on its website.

Beijing staged a perfect ending to the 2008 Paralympics with an evening party celebrating the nobleness of life, Globo said, adding that the hospitality of the host and the festivity touched the whole world.

"China should be proud of itself as the flawless organization work and fully-packed grandstand boosted the morale of the athletes and impressed the world," Globo said.

Earlier, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon said China should be proud of the stunning Games it hosted. The Beijing Games is a success of the Olympic principle and ideal, and a success of the practice of "a green Olympics, a High-tech Olympics and the People's Olympics," he said.

The Games was also an important chance for the international community to promote world peace and harmony through enhancing dialogue and mutual trust, he said.

The grand event has drawn together athletes, leaders and people from around the world in celebration of the Olympic spirit, which is a tremendous contribution by China to building a better world, he said.

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