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Paralympics' Preparation Starts at Sunday Midnight
    2008-08-25 09:25:25     CRIENGLISH.com

  Right after Sunday's closing ceremony of the Beijing Olympics, officials have immediately started making the final preparations for the Paralympics that begin on September 6. The organizers said the opening ceremony of the Paralympics will be touching and unforgettable. Our reporter Wang Lei brings us more.

After the Beijing Olympics ends on Sunday night, officials will spend 12 days transforming the sports venues and Olympic park to create barrier-free facilities for the disabled athletes and spectators who will come here for the Paralympic Games on September 6.

Zhang Qiuping, Director of BOCOG's Paralympic department, gave some details at Friday's press conference in Beijing.

"All the staff and volunteers will be in position. And we need to prepare a large amount of quality barrier-free facilities for big occasions. And we will also replace all the Olympic emblems with Paralympic ones. The transforming period is very important and will be a tough period. We've worked on every detail of the plans for every department and every venue."

Tang Xiaoquan, executive vice-president of BOCOG and vice-president of China Disabled Persons Federation, did not provide details about the opening ceremony of the Beijing Paralympic Games, but said it would be touching and unforgettable. She gave some further details about the venue preparations.

"There are 20 venues for the Paralympics and 6 training venues, which are all Olympic venues. Teams in these venues have made detailed plans and tested barrier-free facilities."

Tang said 400 barrier-free buses will run on 16 special routes. Each of Beijing's 123 subway stations will have at least one access for wheelchairs. The city also has added 109 elevators in subway stations. Tourist sites, including the Great Wall and Forbidden City, as well as specially designated hospitals and hotels, have put in place barrier-free facilities.

Beijing issued a special regulation to allow seeing-eye dogs in all the venues during the Paralympics. Assisting devices, including Braille screens, printers and editing software, will serve visually impaired athletes and visitors. Some venues will provide special sound devices for the hearing impaired.

There are altogether some 1.7 million tickets available for Paralympic events, but the opening and closing ceremonies tickets have almost been sold out. So far, about 480 thousand tickets for the competitions have been sold.

Zhao Chunluan, an official from the China Disabled Persons Federation, said her organization has reserved seats at different venues so local disabled residents can watch the games with their families.

"We've saved the best seats at different events for different local communities and asked them to organize disabled people in their community to come with their families. And private cars owned by disabled people are exempted from the odd-and-even plate policy. They were very happy to hear this."

More than 4,000 athletes will participate in the Paralympic Games, including roughly 330 ones from China. The Games will run from September 6th to the 17th.

Wang Lei, CRI news.



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What do you think will impress foreign visitors the most during the Beijing Olympics?
The friendliness of the Beijing people
The Water Cube and other Olympic venues
The Forbidden City
The Great Wall
Beijing "siheyuan" (Chinese traditional courtyard houses)
Peking Opera
Wangfujing Street
Beijing Roast Duck