Guangzhou_Opening_Ceremony_ParaGames_4_December_2010December 12 - A new chapter for the Paralympic Movement begun in China today when the inaugural Asian Para Games opened in Guangzhou.

Li Keqiang, the Vice Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, declared open the Games before a crowd of 60,000 in the Aoti Main Stadium.

It is the first time that a multi-sport para games has been parallel to the Asian Games.

Asia has a long history in staging major Paralympic events, dating back to the first Far East and South Pacific Games for the Disabled (FESPIC Games) in 1975.

After the dissolution of the FESPIC Games - the parallel sport event for disabled Pacific and East Asian athletes - the final FESPIC held in November 2006 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

They were then replaced by the Asian Para Games, leaving the first host city Guangzhou with no precedent for preparation.

More than 25,000 volunteers have been trained to provide assistance for the 2,500 disabled athletes due to compete.

Accessible facilities, such as rampways, blind walkways and lower counters in the Games Village as well as other parts of the city has been set up or renewed to make sure the athletes can enjoy a barrier-free Asian Para Games with the official slogan "We Cheer, We Share, We Win".

A visually impaired youngster named He Yuxuan was spot-lighted at the beginning of the Openign Ceremony.

The eight-year-old boy carried the flag in his hands with his mother walking along, handed the flag to the honour guards and saluted as the flag was raised.

Mothers of disabled athletes were also honoured during the ceremony.


Mothers of disabled athletes from different Asian countries and regions entered the stadium, sang and cheered for their children as the athletes paraded into the stadium.

Mothers hugged and kissed their children when they passed by, presenting flowers, mascots, and their blessings to the athletes.

They were also joined by more than 300 mothers of children with a disability from all over China.

Host China concluded the athletes parade with Beijing Paralympic wheelchair fencing champion Hu Daoliang holding the national flag.

The Chinese delegation was made up of 614 members including 431 athletes and 183 officials, coaches and working staff, which is the biggest disabled athletes delegation that China has ever assembled for international multi-sport Games.

They will compete in all the 19 sports, among which badminton and tenpin bowling are non-Paralympic sports.

The competition is due to begin tomorrow and last until next Sunday (December 19).

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