Getting ready for Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympics: from venues to athletes
BEIJING. KAZINFORM Within one week, the cauldron will be lit at the opening ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympic Games. Beijing, the city that hosted the 2008 Paralympics, will once again become the center stage of the Paralympic movement for the 2022 Winter Games from March 4 to 13.
After the closing of the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games, the venues entered their transition stage to better serve the Paralympics, including the famous National Aquatics Center, Xinhua reports.
Previously known as the «Water Cube», the National Aquatics Center was converted to the «Ice Cube» to host curling competitions at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. Now, more adjustments will be made to prepare for the upcoming wheelchair curling competitions.
The red lantern-shaped Paralympic mascot Shuey Rhon Rhon has replaced animated astronaut giant panda Bing Dwen Dwen inside and outside the «Ice Cube». More accessible seats and toilets have been built and will be kept permanently after the events. Accessible ramps were set up not only for athletes and referees but also for journalists with disabilities at the media stand.
If those journalists entered the main media center (MMC), they would notice a multimedia center set up at the entrance to offer guidance. Accessible signs and ramps were added to the building, and the cafeterias have been equipped with lower hand disinfection areas.
With over 80 athletes from 22 countries and regions competing at Zhangjiakou Genting Snow Park, four barrier-free routes are set up for athletes, coaches, media and audiences to guarantee an all-around barrier-free experience for all participants. An artificial limb and wheelchair maintenance center is also ready to provide timely service.
At the National Alpine Skiing Center in Yanqing district, specially-designed cable cars will cater to the needs of athletes with lower limb deficiencies. According to Netherlands coach Nicky Elsewaerd, the facilities here and of the Yanqing Paralympic Village are the best.
«I have been to Sochi and Pyeongchang, and these facilities by far are the best for the Paralympics,» said Elsewaerd at a training session.
«The facilities are perfect. Everything is good and acceptable. We have big rooms and big bedrooms. They have special bedrooms for athletes with wheelchairs,» he added.
On the same day that Elsewaerd arrived in China, China's Paralympic cross-country skiing and biathlon teams ended their 55-day training period at Baiyin National Snow Event Training Base in northwest China's Gansu Province and left for Beijing.
The whole team didn't take a single day off during the 55 days, including the past Chinese New Year. «I will try my best to achieve a good result. I hope that all athletes can get honors,» said Guo Yujie, who will compete in both cross-country skiing and biathlon.
A good result at home is something every Chinese athlete longed for during their preparation for the Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympic Games.
On the second day of the Year of the Tiger, the Chinese wheelchair curling team started their first training session in the lunar new year. It's hard not to notice one banner on the wall in their training venue: «The champions in Pyeongchang made history. Starting from zero, we gear up for Beijing».
The team made a breakthrough at the PyeongChang Winter Paralympics, snatching China's first gold medal in wheelchair curling, also the first-ever medal for the country at the Paralympic Games.
Team members expressed their will to turn pressure into motivation to achieve their best in Beijing. The reigning champions are expected to participate in the official training session on March 3.
A total of 96 Chinese athletes will compete in all six disciplines at Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympics, namely wheelchair curling, para ice hockey, para-alpine skiing, para snowboarding, para cross-country skiing and para biathlon.