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Applauds for Paralympics

Posted February. 15, 2008 03:55,   


Two years ago, I covered the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Alpine Skiing World Cup in Yongpyeong, Gangwon Province. For the first time I saw disabled skiers. I was surprised to watch those athletics without limbs sliding down on the snow. The athletes competed fiercely as the ones without disability do, but the game did not have many spectators as in other Paralympics.

According to data from the Ministry of Health and Welfare, as of the end of March 2007, the number of people with disability was more than two million. Experts say the actual number is well over four million when those who are not registered are accounted for. One of the goals of Korea Sports Association for the Disabled, which was launched in 2005, is to make efforts to get more disabled people out of their homes so that they can enjoy the outdoors. Last year, 44.1 percent of people without disability participated day-to-day physical activities whereas only 5.5 percent of the disabled did.

Korean athletes with disability do well in the international competition. Korea finished 9th in the 2000 Sydney Paralympic Games and came in 16th in the 2004 Athens Paralympic Games. This year, they want to be in top 14 in the 2008 Paralympics that will be held after the Beijing Olympics in the same place. They are training very hard to overcome themselves.

American social activist Helen Keller, who overcame her visual, hearing and linguistic impairments, said, “The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight, but has no vision.” Many physically-challenged people rehabilitate themselves through sports and get their confidence and lost vision back.

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Alpine Skiing World Cup is being held until Feb. 18 at High 1 Ski Resort, in Jeongseon, Gangwon Province. One hundred and twenty athletes from 15 countries will be competing for medals.

From Feb. 19 to 22, the 5th Winter National Games for the Disabled will be held with some 200 players contesting in Chuncheon Uiam Skating Rink, Eastern Ulsan Ice Rink and High 1 Ski Resort.

I hope that the athletes’ race for human triumph can give hope and courage to many people.