As a countdown ceremony on Wednesday marks 100 days to go before the Beijing Winter Paralympic Games, the Beijing 2022 organizers are ready to welcome Paralympic athletes from all over the world.
With the slogan "Health, Joy and Energy," the Beijing 2022 Paralympic torch relay schedule was released at the ceremony, aiming to encourage people with disabilities across the world to enjoy winter sports and embrace a promising future.
Cai Qi, secretary of the CPC Beijing Municipal Committee and president of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (BOCOG), said at the ceremony that China is committed to hosting a green, inclusive, open and clean Games in accordance with the Winter Olympics.
"Beijing 2022 will provide warm service for participants from all over the world to hold a simple, safe and splendid Games, and we will take the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games as an opportunity to further lead the whole society to care for persons with disabilities and encourage them to pursue a better life," Cai said.
The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) president, Andrew Parsons attended the ceremony via a video link and praised the preparation and organization of Beijing 2022.
"I would like to thank everyone involved in the preparation, and we are very happy to see that the venues are ready, and the plans are in place. The Beijing 2022 Organizing Committee is ready to deliver a fantastic Games with no doubt. We have high hopes for the Games," he said.
ATHLETES READY TO SHINE
Three months ago, the Chinese Paralympic Delegation finished atop the medal tally at the Tokyo Paralympics, achieving fruitful results in both sports performance and spiritual style, while in a little more than three months, Chinese athletes will again compete in the Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing.
With the mentality of starting from scratch to prepare for Beijing 2022, the Chinese wheelchair curling team, who has been training behind closed doors, is a decorated team who won China's first Winter Paralympic gold medal at Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Paralympics, as well as two world titles at the 2019 and 2021 World Wheelchair Curling Championships.
Achievements are hard won, and it's even harder to strive for further honors. "In Pyeongchang, we were the ones to challenge the champions. But when we came off the podium, we became other teams' target," said Hu Junfeng, executive deputy team leader of the Chinese wheelchair curling team. "We have to train ourselves even harder to maintain our advantage."
"The other teams are very strong, both technically and tactically," said Wang Haitao, captain and a key player of the team. "In the next 100 days, I will watch more matches, train well and focus on improving my weaknesses."
Hoping to achieve the best possible results at home is the firm belief of all the Chinese Paralympic athletes as they enter the Beijing 2022 preparation cycle.
Despite finishing outside top 10 at the Pyeongchang Games, Sun Qi from Liaoning Province swept both of the banked slalom SB-LL2 races at the 2018 World Cup in the Netherlands, claiming China's first Para snowboarding gold medal in international events at age 19.
Facing the Paralympics in Beijing in 100 days' time, Sun's goal is to win a medal, adding "there will be pressure as I have won gold before but I will try my best."
After Beijing and Zhangjiakou won the bid in 2015 to host the 2022 Winter Games, not only the para athletes but hundreds and thousands disabled people have been encouraged to explore new possibilities of life through sports.
"The Paralympic Games is not only a sports competition, but more importantly a symbol of humanity, which shows how a country cares for and helps the disabled," noted Yang Jinkui, head of the Paralympics Department of Beijing 2022.
The Beijing Paralympic Winter Games will strive to influence and inspire people with the Olympic and Paralympic spirit, promoting an open and inclusive society.
FACILITIES READY TO SERVE
As all barrier-free facilities at the competition venues of the Beijing Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games have been completed, the "Ice Cube" hosted the 2021 Wheelchair Curling World Championship as part of the "Experience Beijing" testing events, offering the best quality guarantee and the most humanized service.
A total of 92 people from 12 countries and regions have stayed and trained at the China Administration of Sport for Persons with Disabilities (CASPD) from October 17 to 31, during which humanistic care and accessible services were provided by the organizers.
World Curling Federation president Kate Caithness called the National Aquatics Center the best curling venue she had ever experienced. "The changing rooms, ramps and other facilities have been designed with great ingenuity and consideration," she said.
According to the Accessibility Guidelines for the Beijing 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, the National Aquatics Center has been upgraded in various infrastructure areas, including parking, entrances and exits, elevators, ramps, toilets, dressing rooms, barrier-free signage systems, etc.
The venue has also recruited a medical team consists of 39 experienced staff members from Beijing Tsinghua Changgung Hospital, some of whom have had previous Olympic experience.
Considering the special nature of wheelchair curling, the team includes members from the emergency department, general practice, orthopedics, surgery, neurology, rehabilitation, respiratory and cardiovascular departments to help athletes deal with sports injuries, lower limb infections, urinary tract infections and other diseases.
In terms of catering, every batch of food for athletes has been tested and sampled for viruses and stimulants during food procurement, storage and retention. Senior chefs were invited to cook and provide personalized meals to athletes in need.