Zhang Haidi, president of Rehabilitation International, executive president of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games and chairperson of the China Disabled Persons’ Federation, told the media that the preparation of the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games has gone smoothly, and the organizers of the Games are ready to welcome athletes from around the world.
She said sports is an important means of rehabilitation for persons with disabilities, to participate in sports is conducive to improving the physical functionality of persons with disabilities, and more importantly, it plays a distinctive role in promoting their physical and psychological rehabilitation.
It also has unique feature to transcend language, cultural and social barriers, making it an excellent platform and an ideal tool to foster inclusion and promote well-being of persons with disabilities, she added.
To ensure the equal access of persons with disabilities to sports is also important to protect their human rights and promote disability-inclusive development.
Early in the 1950s, RI had already sown the seeds for Paralympic Games. With Commission on Leisure, Recreation and Physical Activities as the center pillar and the collective endeavor of all global family, RI has made its due contribution in ensuring the right of persons with disabilities to take part in sporting activities on an equal footing with others.
Zhang said the efficient organizing of the Games establishes a platform for athletes to enjoy the event.
She said that China’s Paralympic Winter Games have developed rapidly since China won the bidding of the Games.
“In the preparation process, we have paid special attention to the special needs of people with disabilities and the construction of a barrier-free environment so as to create a good atmosphere for the whole society to care for people with disabilities and support the Paralympic Winter Games,” said Zhang.
A barrier-free environment is the premise of safe, smooth, and convenient passage for people with disabilities, and is the top priority of the preparations for the Paralympic Games.
Zhang said that the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games attaches great importance to the construction of a barrier-free environment, and has formulated the Accessibility Guidelines for the Beijing 2022 Olympics and Paralympic Winter Games. In addition, competition and non-competition venues give priority to the experience of customers with disabilities and enhance accessibility in accordance with the guidelines.
Zhang added, “In terms of information services, relevant websites and mobile phone software have been upgraded with barrier-free versions; braille and large-print publications have been printed; and the news conferences will provide sign language interpretation and clear signage. In addition, transportation services will provide barrier-free vehicles. In terms of medical services, orthopedic, prosthetic, and wheelchair repair centers will be set up in the stadiums, and special medicines and sanitary equipment will be prepared for people with disabilities as well.”
The venues for the Paralympic Winter Games are ready to host events, and the Winter Paralympic Village has opened to use. The barrier-free construction of venue facilities conforms to the guidelines, and solid progress has been made in preparation for venue operations, while the Winter Paralympic test events ran smoothly, she added.
In particular, specific policies and measures have been introduced for COVID-19 epidemic prevention and control, and the organization of competitions, event services, urban security, cultural events, opening and closing ceremonies, volunteer organizations, and security have all been carried out in an orderly manner as planned, Zhang concluded.