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National Games for Disabled boosts China's hope at Beijing Paralympics
From:Xinhuanet Updated:2007-05-21

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KUNMING, Southwest China, May 20 (Xinhua) -- With the curtain of the 7th Chinese National Games for the Disabled lowered here Sunday afternoon, local organizing committee and all people concerned are in a moral-boosting mood to look at the Beijing Paralympic in 2008.

Serving as a rehearsal for the Paralympics, the National Games has witnessed 62 world records surpassed by the Chinese athletes, with 50 from athletics, swimming, powerlifting and shooting, another 12 in cycling and archery.

When the veterans have lived up to their world-calibre reputation, some new faces also had satisfactory performances during the Games, providing an all-around preparation for the Paralympics in 2008, and all the anti-doping tests conducted before and during the Games turned out to be negative, said the local organizing committee.

The disabled Chinese athletes have written off world records inmost of the sports during the National Games, with 23 from the track and field events, 19 in swimming, five in powerlifting and three in shooting. Eleven cycling records were also inked, with another one in archery.

Besides, in other Paralympic sports like wheelchair basketball and 7-a-side football, the national competition levels have also been raised, said the organizing committee.

At the Games, those world record holders and Athens Paralympic champions all retained their upper hands in good forms.

Wang Xiaofu, the most famous swimmer of the Chinese team with five world records, achieved a Grand Slam in all nine events he took part. Besides, the 18-year-old also surpassed two world records of his own to prove his prowess.

Swimmer Li Hanhua of the Guangdong province even overshadowed five world records during the Games, the most world records bettered by any individual of the 2,251 athletes during the Games.

Guo Wei, another holder of five world records, also improved on a pair of world records in the men's shot put and javelin, and won three golds at the Games, where Zhang Haidong also surpassed the men's 82.5kg powerlifting world record, becoming one of the three Chinese men lifters with world mark performance.

Even more important, some fresh blood also sprouted up during the Games. Shanghai debutant Jiang Jieyun attained two golds and a silver to stole the limelight from the national team members, and the swimming and athletics coaches echoed the words of recruiting those new faces into the national teams in the future.

Experts from the Chinese Paralympic Sports Administrative Center and national teams coaches also unveiled their plans for the Beijing Paralympics.

In the coming June, the national athletics, swimming and shooting teams will disclose their team lists with unprecedented large numbers of athletes.

According to the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), athletes from the hosts will not automatically advance to the Paralympics. Thus, China will dispatch them to compete in all kinds of international meets to gain required points, and improve their skills and experience.

Besides, the scientific research sports organizations will also intensify their efforts to help make suitable training plans for the athletes. And more psychologists, nutritionists and experts in rehabilitation will be provided for the teams. A nationwide system will continue working.

Despite all the efforts, the Chinese experts and coaches are well aware of the challenges ahead as the athletics events will be trimmed down from 194 to 160 for the Beijing Paralympics, some strongholds for the Chinese athletes will be cut, and China also slumped to the fourth place at the Denmark Open in March in swimming, a bonanza of gold medals for the Chinese athletes.

However, with the advantage of home turf and through preparation, China is reasonably to be tipped to retain its top position on both gold and overall medal tally, which was achieved by China for the first time in Athens in 2004.

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