POSTED: Monday July 31st 2017

IPC presidential candidate hails China's London 2017 and Deaflympics glory and turns attention to increasing participation in Para-sports

Mme. Haidi Zhang is the President of the People's Republic of China's National Paralympic Committee, but following her team's dominance of the London 2017 World Para Athletics Championships, she has vowed to help transform Para-sports on a worldwide level - improving lives for those with disabilities across the globe.

China's extraordinary performance at the London 2017 World Para Athletics Championships, topping the table with 65 medals, 30 of them gold, is a testament to the hard work and vision of International Paralympic Committee (IPC) presidential candidate Mme. Haidi Zhang and her team.

Following the country's success in London, the Chinese team participating at the Deaflympics in Samsun, Turkey - which concluded yesterday - has also won an impressive number of medals: 34 in total, including 14 gold.
As President of China's National Paralympic Committee and Executive President of the Beijing 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Organising Committee, Mme. Haidi has been deeply involved in shaping the superb facilities and training opportunities available to the country's best disabled sportsmen and women.

But while she is satisfied with her nation's stellar achievements, it is spreading the secret of their success worldwide that is now one of her biggest passions.

"I'd like to congratulate China on their wonderful performances in London and Samsun," Mme. Haidi said. "But in my vision, we are not working for gold medals; we are working for global participation in Para-sports.

"As the leader of China's Paralympic movement, my team and I have helped transform the life chances of my country people. We made continuous developments, and more people with impairment began to practise sports."

Mme. Haidi has led Chinese teams to the London 2012 Paralympic Games, Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games, 2014 Asian Para Games and Rio 2016 Paralympic Games - and claims that increased participation across the board was the key reason for their excellent results.

"I've worked with my team to improve the lives of the 85 million Chinese living with impairments," she said. "More than 8 million of those people now participate in sport. We have introduced more than 28 billion US dollars of care and support programmes since 2008, developing major international cooperation projects and opening rehabilitation institutions in all Chinese provinces and municipalities.

"If elected as the president of the IPC, my mission would be to encourage the same levels of participation on a global basis."

Mme. Haidi's commitment to this cannot be doubted. She is already helping to develop the China Rehabilitation University in her homeland, and her track record as chairperson of the China Disabled Persons' Federation is enviable - successfully urging changes on a governmental level.

"Since I was elected as Chairperson in 2008, I, together with my colleagues, have called on the country to formulate and improve laws and regulations to protect the rights and interests of people with disabilities, and do more practical work for them.

"The living conditions of 85 million people with disabilities in China have continued to improve. Over the past five years, more than 4.4 million people with disabilities in rural areas have been lifted out of poverty. Eliminating discrimination and giving equal opportunities to people with disabilities are important humanitarian concepts."

In China, Paralympians are being given equal opportunities to study at university. Retired athletes are also given job opportunities and guidance.

"It is not how many medals one will win that counts, it is letting sports inspire people with disabilities to live a better life. The challenge has just begun," she said.

The success of London 2017 - the second-biggest-ever Para-sports event after the London 2012 Paralympic Games - should be a catalyst to further steps forward, thinks Mme. Haidi.

"My goals will not be complete until all those living with impairment enjoy access to better lives through sport. This is why I am uniquely positioned to lead the IPC," she said.


For more information please contact Yao Di:, Tel: 86-10-80471863, Fax: 86-10-80471719

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Keywords · Haidi Zhang · China Paralympic Committee · IPC

Name: Yao Di
Organization: National Paralympic Committee of China

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