POSTED: Sunday August 6th 2017

As a huge week for athletics and para athletics continues, Mme. Haidi Zhang makes appeal for "more inclusive international sporting community"

The Chinese candidate for President of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) believes that much has been done to improve the life of youngsters with disabilities, but outlines key elements of her candidature that will further reduce the segregation of para sport

The first ever World Junior Para Athletics Championships got underway in Nottwil, Switzerland, on Thursday, 3 August 2017, while the London 2017 IAAF World Championships begin on this weekend. 

To mark the events, Mme. Haidi has praised the progress that has been made for young disabled people, but called for a more inclusive international sporting community.

“These Championships are the first junior para athletics event of this kind, and we welcome that,” said Mme. Haidi. “This is a wonderful first step for many young people living with disabilities. It provides a development pathway for international class athletes, who will be looking to compete at senior regional and World Championships, and eventually the Paralympic Games.

“With the championships in London also taking place, however, it is a great time to discuss how we can foster a more inclusive international community among the sporting family.”

“The more we can reduce the segregation of para sports, and increase inclusiveness, the better. This can only help to further reduce the stigma for para-athletes. Competitors can provide inspiration and motivation whether they are disabled, impaired or able-bodied.” she said.

As President of China’s National Paralympic Committee and the Chair of China Disabled Persons’ Federation (CDPF), Mme. Haidi has already helped to normalise life for those with disabilities, by encouraging integration with the able-bodied world in China.

“In recent years, a lot of children with disabilities have opted for ordinary primary schools in China,” she said. “We are looking to unleash their potential, share happiness and promote rehabilitation.”

“These children have teachers and classmates as company, and they make progress. In 2016, more than 10,000 students with disabilities were admitted to colleges and universities in China.”

Sport is one of the best ways to break down social and intercultural barriers. “We want to build on what has already been achieved, and encourage more youth participation in para sport,” she said.

“We also want to address financial challenges for those regions that are economically disadvantaged, when it comes to the development of para athletes from grass roots upwards. There are particular challenges faced by para athletes living in poverty and conflict.

“This all starts with young people. We hope that future events like the World Junior Para Athletics Championships can benefit from closer ties with the rest of the world of sport. The next big challenge is to extend the reach of the Paralympic Movement and para sport to every corner of the globe. To do this is my promise as candidate to lead the IPC.”

Mme. Haidi Zhang will stand for election to the IPC Governing Board on September 8 at the IPC General Assembly in Abu Dhabi, UAE.


For more information please contact Yao Di:, Tel: 86-10-80471863, Fax: 86-10-8047171

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Keywords · Paralympics · IPC · Haidi Zhang

Name: Yao Di
Organization: National Paralympic Committee of China

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