RI Global: Office of Communications
Contact: Adrian Brune, +1 347-759-9501
New York, 24 July 2017 — Rehabilitation International (RI), a global network of experts, persons with disabilities, service providers and other multi-disability and multi-disciplinary stakeholders, is pleased to announce its support for the candidacy of its President, Zhang Haidi, as president of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) announced last month in Beijing.
Zhang is now one of the four candidates running for the IPC presidency, competing against Patrick Jarvis of Canada, Andrew Parsons of Brazil, and John Petersson of Denmark. The election of a new IPC president will be held on 6 September — if Zhang wins, she will be the first Chinese IPC president.
“I am a woman with an impairment. I therefore share the hope, fear and pain of my fellow men and women living with this condition,” Zhang said in her manifesto to the IPC. “I am a leader of a Paralympic Movement. My Chinese team has topped the medal table in gold and overall at four consecutive Paralympic Games.”
Among other things, Zhang promised to deliver eye-catching, successful, athlete-centered Paralympic Games: from Pyeongchang 2018 through Tokyo 2020 to Beijing 2022. She also pledged to expand the scope of Paralympic sports, extend the reach of the Paralympic Movement to all corners of the globe, champion optimal training and competition conditions for athletes, and strengthen scientific research and technical support in the service of the Paralympic Games, including effective doping control.
Zhang is also the Executive President of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics and Paralympics Organising Committee. She has also been serving as chairperson of the China Disabled Persons’ Federation since 2008 and as RI Global President since November 2016.
“I will put special emphasis on the equal participation of female athletes with an impairment, as well as endeavour to encourage young people to see the Paralympic movement as an opportunity and an ideal,” Zhang continued. “I will invest new effort in crafting a role for the Paralympic Movement in improving athletes’ lives beyond retirement and will help them to play full and active lives in society.”
RI Global says that Zhang’s demonstrated strong leadership, dedication and the ability to make a difference in the life of people, particularly persons with disabilities across the world, makes her an ideal candidate “to bring and use her abilities towards advancing the global work of IPC and ensuring its sustainability for future generations of athletes with disabilities,” said Venus Ilagen, RI Global’s Secretary General from the New York headquarters. “Madam Zhang is a leader in every sense. She is one whose actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become the best person anyone can possibly become. As a woman with a disability from a developing country who succeeded in overcoming multiple challenges to be the global leader that she is now, Madam Zhang has been an inspiration to people not just in China but all over the world.”
Sir Philip Craven has served as the second president of the IPC since 2001. Craven, who was appointed an International Olympic Committee (IOC) member to represent the IPC in 2003, capitalised on a new constitutional structure introduced in 2005 which has led him to carry out three four-year terms, instead of two. He is an accomplished five-time Paralympian in wheelchair basketball (1972 to 1988) and swimming (1972).
RI Global: Founded in 1922, Rehabilitation International (RI Global) is a worldwide network promoting the rights and inclusions of persons with disabilities (PwDs) through advocacy, habilitation and rehabilitation to achieve an inclusive world in which all people can enjoy full human rights.