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Excellence in accessibility to leave lasting legacy

By Shi Futian Source: China Daily Updated: 2022-03-08

Beijing Winter Paralympics' barrier-free environment wins widespread acclaim


Athletes and their support crew alight a cable car at the National Alpine Skiing Centre in Beijing's Yanqing district. [Photo/Xinhua]

Despite the short transition time between the closing of the Beijing Winter Olympics and the opening of the Paralympics, the International Paralympic Committee and the Beijing 2022 Organizing Committee (BOCOG) have delivered the best possible barrier-free environment for the para athletes and other participants with disabilities.

According to Liu Yumin, director general of the planning and construction department of BOCOG, providing an exceptional barrier-free environment at the Winter Paralympics required the consideration of all aspects at the three competition zones in downtown Beijing, the capital's northwest Yanqing district and co-host Zhangjiakou, Hebei province.

"The core of our work is for the athletes, and we needed to provide an all-round barrier-free environment. Based on the actual needs of the para athletes we made adjustments at all venues to ensure their safety and accessibility," said Liu during a news conference in Beijing on Sunday.

"For example, we installed automatic doors at the entrances of the venues, barrier-free seats in the stands, barrier-free bathrooms and Braille signage in elevators. Another example is the audio notification system in use at the medical stations to help the visually impaired athletes."

The barrier-free environment at the Beijing Winter Paralympics has earned praise from athletes and the IPC.

"We are very happy to be here for sure. It has been a good few years of hard work, and it has been a challenge for us and BOCOG to provide accessible Games. We are happy that the Games have been accessible since day one," said Ileana Rodriguez, IPC accessibility expert and Paralympic swimmer.

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