Winter Paralympics open with call for peace amid Ukrainian war
The 2022 Beijing Winter Paralympics have formally kicked off with a 100-minute opening ceremony that was highlighted by an impassioned plea for peace.
The 2022 Beijing Winter Paralympics have kicked off at the Bird’s Nest Stadium with a 100-minute Opening Ceremony that featured an impassioned plea for peace by International Paralympic Committee President Andrew Parsons.
“As the leader of an organization with inclusion at its core, where diversity is celebrated and differences embraced, I am horrified at what is taking place in the world right now,” Parsons said. “The 21st century is a time for dialogue and diplomacy, not war and hate.”
Olympic truce must be honored
“The Olympic truce- for peace during Olympic and Paralympic Games- is a UN Resolution. It must be respected and observed, not violated.”
The Winter Paralympics snowflake-shaped cauldron was lit by China’s Li Duan, who is visually impaired. He is a four-time Paralympic champion in the long jump and the triple jump.
The US delegation was led by flag bearers Danelle Umstead and Tyler Carter, who are both alpine skiers.
Support for Ukrainian athletes
The Ukrainian delegation was given a warm welcome, applauded by other athletes as they stood outside the stadium bearing streamers that read “STOP WAR” and “PEACE FOR UKRAINE”.
Ukraine was fourth in the Parade of Nations, with at least three members of the contingent raising their fist in the air as they marched in.
Athletes from Russia and Belarus were banned from competing in the games after initially being allowed to join as neutral participants. The Russian Paralympic Committee was planning to challenge the IPC’s ruling but was not allowed to do so, as IPC guidelines say that the governing body had the right to “refuse any athlete entry, without indication of grounds.”
The Paralympic Games are scheduled to be held from March 4 to 13.