Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games: three days to go!
Two days to go for the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing. The Games will kick off with another spectacular ceremony in the National Stadium – the Bird’s Nest - in Beijing. Over 13 days, 4,000 athletes from 148 countries will compete in 20 sports. The Paralympics will be staged in the same iconic venues as the Olympic Games in August, including the sailing competitions in Qingdao and the equestrian competitions in Hong Kong.
Burundi, Gabon, Georgia, Haiti and Timor-Leste will participate for the first time in the Paralympic
Games; Serbia and Montenegro will participate for the first time as two delegations. The Chinese delegation, with 332 athletes and 215 officials, is the country’s largest at the Paralympics. Rowing is on the sports programme for the first time.
Torch relay under way
The Games will be preceded by a torch relay that includes 850 torch bearers who are
carrying the torch over 10 days in different provinces of the country. Some 30,000 volunteers will
welcome and assist the athletes.
Paralympic Village opened
The Paralympic Village was opened formally on Saturday, with the Chinese squad hoisting its flag and moving in. The Paralympic Village, transformed from the Olympic Village, will play host to the athletes and officials. Special accessories and facilities have been added to the Village to meet the needs of physically challenged athletes. Spread over 66 hectares, the Village has 42 apartment buildings, a hospital, a bank, places of worship and many shops.
A commemorative wall with the inscription of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, in Chinese and English, was also unveiled on Saturday. The Convention was unanimously approved by delegates of the 192 UN members two years ago, and became effective from 3 May this year. All athletes, officials and visitors to the Village can sign their names on the wall, which will be retained as a legacy of the Beijing Paralympic Games.
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