BEIJING, March 8 (Xinhua) -- China claimed its first-ever Winter Paralympic medal four years ago at PyeongChang 2018 by winning the wheelchair curling gold. Now at Beijing 2022, China is currently leading the tally with a total of 27 medals including eight golds as of Tuesday.
Beijing 2022 Organizing Committee (BOCOG) vice president Yang Shu'an explained the reason behind this huge progress at a press conference.
"In past Winter Paralympic Games, China participated in very few events, but this year Chinese athletes entered all disciplines," Yang said on Tuesday.
"The biggest reason behind this is the continuous efforts of athletes with disabilities and their strong desire to participate in social life. At the same time, the Chinese government has always supported the inclusion of people with disabilities into society. Programs for persons with disabilities have seen a comprehensive development, including Para sports."
"In the past seven years after Beijing's successful bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, people with disabilities have been actively participating in winter sports, which is a reflection of a country's overall national strength," Yang said.
"With the economic and social development in China, there has been increasing care and support for Para sports," he added. "People with disabilities have always been striving for better selves, so it's a combination of factors."
Yang also stressed that the Paralympic Winter Games is not only about winning medals, but rather a platform for people with disabilities to express their spirit of never giving up and overcoming difficulties, which "deserves applause from all of us."
International Paralympic Committee (IPC) spokesperson Craig Spence also echoed that, saying "when China puts its mind to something it certainly delivers and that's shown in the results here."
"They've also got a huge talent pool to choose from. I think it's between 83 or 85 million persons with disabilities in this country so that's an enormous talent pool to choose from and find the athletes," Spence noted.
"The Beijing Paralympic Winter Games have produced and will continue to produce various legacies," said BOCOG spokesperson Zhao Weidong. "I think these legacies will further promote the development of sports for the disabled."
He introduced that China has been organizing winter sports events for people with disabilities since 2016 and the number of participants has increased from some 10,000 people to more than 300,000.
"With the popularity of this ice and snow sport, we will further promote the development of similar ice and snow sports nationwide in the next step," Zhao said. ■