Games of the XIII Paralympics
6 - 17 September 2008
"One World, One Dream"
The thirteenth Paralympics Games in Beijing, China - with the same slogan as the 2008 Summer Olympics "One World, One Dream" - welcomed over 4,200 athletes from 148 countries, the largest number of nations ever at the Paralympics (twelve more than in Athens), with several countries competing for the first time. As in 2004, China dominated the medal count finishing with a total of 211 medals, including 89 gold. Sir Philip Craven, President of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) declared the Games 'the greatest Paralympic Games ever.'
The 90,000 seat Bird's Nest Stadium staged the spectacular Opening Ceremony which involved the contributions of 4,813 performers. Three times Paralympic champion in the Men's High Jump and Paralympian Ambassador Hou Bin lit the Paralympic torch in sensational style when climbing a rope to the roof of the Bird's Nest using nothing but the strength in his arms.
Amazing performances were had in the Birds Nest stadium, such as Canada's T54 wheelchair racer Chantal Petitclerc taking five gold medals in all distances from 100m through to 1,500m; South African Oscar Pistorius claiming three golds in the 100m, 200m and 400m T44 races, setting a new world record of 47.49 seconds in the 400m; and Ireland's Jason Smyth setting new world records on his way to gold in the 100m and 200m T13 races.
Brazil's Daniel Dias was the man to beat in the 'Water Cube' taking home a total of nine Swimming medals consisting of four golds, four silvers and one bronze. South Africa's Natalie du Toit was equally impressive winning five gold medals out of five Swimming events. At the closing ceremony du Toit was awarded the Whand Youn Dai Achievement Award, in recognition of her exemplary role in practicing the Paralympic motto 'Spirit in Motion'.
Dutch Wheelchair Tennis player Ester Vergeer collected her third consecutive Paralympic Games gold medal with victory in the Women's singles, whist Polish Table Tennis player Natalie Partyka competed in both the Olympic and Paralympic Games, taking gold in the Women's individual TT10 final in the latter event.
Australia's 19 year old Rugby player Ryley Batt scored a record 23 points as his country took home silver.
All but the sailing and equestrian events were held in Beijing.
Games Facts & Figures
- 148 nations
- 20 Sports – 472 events
- 4200 athletes
- 1.82 million tickets sold
- 1.62 million tickets provided to children, education and community groups
- A cumulated audience of 3.8 billion watched the Games and the total broadcasting time increased by 200 per cent compared to the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games.