UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 8 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday welcomed the start of the Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro as a sporting event showcasing abilities of athletes living with disabilities.
Ban "believes that sport has a particularly important role to play in promoting and implementing the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities," UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said at a daily news briefing here. "The Paralympic Movement is a key ally, the secretary-general says."
"Not only do the Paralympic Games showcase the extraordinary abilities and potential of athletes living with disability, they promote the rights of all persons with disabilities and provide a catalyst for lasting change," the spokesman said.
"The secretary-general believes that Paralympic athletes are change makers and role models and are symbols of courage and aspiration to us all," he said.
The Rio Paralympic Games officially opened on Wednesday with a four-hour extravaganza featuring high-octane energy, artistic creativity and touching humanity.
With a central theme of "Everybody has a heart," the opening ceremony's producers promised a show that would "surprise, provoke and celebrate with a Brazilian twist." And they did not disappoint.
Despite wet and windy conditions at the Maracana stadium, a capacity crowd of more than 50,000 attended the show, which was beamed to television viewers in 154 countries and regions.