Charts of the day: Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympic countdown begins

The opening ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympics is scheduled to take place at 8 p.m. Friday Beijing Time (1200 GMT) at the National Stadium.

The Games will feature 78 events in six sports across three competition zones – Beijing, Yanqing District and Zhangjiakou City in Hebei Province, from March 4 to 13.

"The accessible routes within the eight competition venues are clear and smooth; barrier-free elevators, toilets, bedrooms, locker rooms, ramps and seats have met the requirements for the events," said Yang Qiyong, general manager of the venue.

Additionally, the National Aquatics Center, which staged curling during the Winter Olympics and is known as the Ice Cube, has been fully prepared to host wheelchair curling during the Winter Paralympics.

The athlete's ramp is the most important facility for wheelchair curling. Because the curling takes place on the ground floor, the Ice Cube has added a temporary ramp measuring 1,340 meters.

The renovated National Aquatic Center from the 2008 Summer Olympics was highly praised during the October 2021 World Wheelchair Curling Championships.

Zigzag barrier-free passages, barrier-free seats and bathrooms, and the unique container-type changing rooms have left a deep impression on athletes from different countries, Yang said.

Efficient and barrier-free medical services will also be provided to Paralympic athletes.

"We have built a closed-loop, integrated medical treatment system from the racecourse to the medical station, to ambulances, helicopters and then to the designated hospitals, solving the problem of remote medical services on the way to an emergency transfer, providing fast, high-quality, high-efficiency treatment for injured athletes," said Li Congmin, deputy head of the Hebei Provincial Department of Science and Technology.

Looking back

Since Beijing won the vote to host the 2022 Winter Paralympic Games in 2015, China has seen a huge increase in the number of participants in Paralympic events, followed by a surge in the number of sports facilities for the disabled.

In 2018, China pocketed its first gold medal when the Chinese wheelchair curling team took top honors at the PyeongChang Paralympic Games. As of March 2021, Chinese Paralympic athletes have won 38 gold medals in various international competitions, according to Zhang Haidi, executive president of the organizing committee for the Games.

Hundreds of athletes will compete in the 2022 Winter Paralympics. Team China is aspiring for more medals, especially the wheelchair curlers, who aim to defend their title.

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