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Review: 1st PyeongChang Paralympic Day

Ist Paralympic Day in Gwanghwamun Square, Seoul. Image credit: EJ Monica Kim

The PyeongChang Paralympic Day was held in Seoul, South Korea on March 14-15 under the slogan ‘It’s our turn’ for the first time, in order to encourage enthusiasm for the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games and para-sports in South Korea as well as all over the world.

The event commenced with a welcoming speech from Yang Ho Cho, President of the PyeongChang Organising Committee for the 2018 Olympic & Paralympic Games (POCOG) on March 14.

Image credit: EJ Monica Kim

Image credit: EJ Monica Kim

About 500 attendees including South Korea’s first figure skating gold medalist and goodwill ambassador for PyeongChang 2018 Yuna Kim, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, President of the Korean Paralympic Committee (KPC), foreign ambassadors in Korea and civil participants celebrated the day in warm weather.

“As you can see, a lot of people have participated in the event, so I think that this will enhance to give support to people with impairments and the Paralympic Games in the future,” said Nguyen Quang Vinh, official of Vietnam Anti-Doping and Sports Medicine Agency.

Philip Craven, President of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) also took part in the event by sending a video message from Bonn. “Congratulations to Korea for staging its first ever national Paralympic Day… Have a great time and enjoy para-sports like I do and many people all over the world do.”

South Korea’s prominent photographer Seihon Cho who became a new goodwill ambassador for the 2018 Games exhibited his collection of photos for disabled sportsperson, titled, ‘My Dream, Sports’ in central Seoul. The photos were taken during the Summer and Winter Paralympics from 2008 to 2014.

Para Sports Equipment Exhibition. Image credit: EJ Monica Kim

Para Sports Equipment Exhibition. Image credit: EJ Monica Kim

Para Sports Equipment Exhibition also helped the public have a deeper understanding of para-athletes and their sport, as displaying a prosthetic leg and a sport wheelchair.

Moreover, participants had an opportunity to try out the sport with ice sledge hockey players and wheelchair curling team that won a silver medal at the 2010 Winter Paralympics in Vancouver.

A demonstration of ice sledge hockey. Image credit: EJ Monica Kim

A demonstration of ice sledge hockey. Image credit: EJ Monica Kim

“I believe that this event is a good start of the 2018 Winter Paralympics. If there are more events, and these are promoted through social media actively, the 2018 Paralympics Winter Games will be very successful,” said Young-Hoon Chung, former national player of the ice sledge hockey team that claimed a silver medal at the 2012 World Championships A Pool in Norway.

“I also wish that people’s interest in PyeongChang 2018 leads to ice sledge hockey boom in the country.”

Chung did not forget to cheer up South Korean team, competing at the 2015 World Championships B Pool in Sweden between March 15 and 20. “I’m sure that the team will achieve a desired result, so I just hope that all the players won’t get injured until the tournament finishes. Go Korea!” he said.

POCOG will launch the Paralympic Day in March every year until 2018. Next Paralympic Winter Games will take place in PyeongChang, South Korea between March 9 and 25 in 2018.

About EJ Monica Kim (41 Articles)
EJ Monica Kim completed B.A (Media and Communications) at The University of Sydney. She is a freelance journalist and writer at the International Paralympic Committee [IPC], based in Seoul, Korea.

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