Stadiums for Beijing Winter Paralympics to be open to public, serve more people with disabilities
Published: Mar 07, 2022 10:54 PM
The Ice Cube has been upgraded to become barrier-free for the curling events at the Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympic Games. Photo: Xinhua

The Ice Cube has been upgraded to become barrier-free for the curling events at the Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympic Games. Photo: Xinhua

All venues of the Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympic Games will be open to the public after the games, in order to provide services for more people with disabilities and promote the development of barrier-free facilities for the disabled in the city and around the country, the organizing committee said on Sunday.

The Winter Paralympics is a short-term activity, while promoting construction of a barrier-free urban environment will be a long-term endeavor, Liu Yumin, head of the planning and construction department with the Beijing 2022 organizing committee, said at a press conference held on Sunday.

Liu noted that building of the venues took into account the requirements both during and after the Games, and aimed to leave a legacy of barrier-free facilities in the city, China News Service reported.

Craig Spence, spokesperson for the International Paralympic Committee, praised the facilities of the Beijing Winter Paralympics, saying that China has built around 14 million barrier-free facilities for the Games, providing a catalyst for improving China's barrier-free environment.

Many venues were transformed into places more friendly to people with impairments before the Beijing Winter Paralympics. In the National Indoor Stadium, many facilities have been tailored for athletes with disabilities. Hand exercise machines have replaced pedal bikes in the athletes' warm-up area and the shower rooms have also been specially prepared. 

The number of accessible seats and toilets at the National Aquatics Center has doubled, and in Zhangjiakou Paralympic Village, the sunken square was designed and constructed with wooden ramps that meet the requirements of the slope to facilitate the passage of the disabled, the Beijing News reported.

The report said that holding the Winter Paralympic Games has raised China's barrier-free environment construction to a new height. For example, Beijing launched a special campaign for barrier-free environment construction from 2019 to 2021 previously. A total of 336,000 sites have been renovated and 100 barrier-free demonstration blocks have been built.

Another competition zone, Zhangjiakou in North China's Hebei Province, has also had barrier-free facilities installed. The city has built 680 accessible toilets and 101 barrier-free elevators as well as lifting platforms as of January 2022.

China on Thursday issued its first white paper on parasports, elaborating on the country's measures to help people with disabilities participate in public sports and competitive sports, as well as the welfare and supportive systems in place.

China has included building barrier-free facilities into a national development plan. So far, 81 percent of entrances and exits, 56 percent of service counters, and 38 percent of the toilets in community or village service centers are barrier free. 

"I love skiing!" Niu Yu, 24, who lost her right leg after she was trapped under debris for three days during the 2008 Wenchuan Earthquake, told the Global Times.

Niu has been equipped with a prosthetic limb and with the more convenient facilities in venues, she believes that she can better enjoy the charm of winter sports.