2018 Winter Paralympics closes with multiple records, China's 1st gold

Source: Xinhua| 2018-03-18 22:42:25|Editor: Yamei
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The fireworks are seen at the closing ceremony of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Paralympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium, South Korea, March 18, 2018.(Xinhua/Wang Jingqiang)

PYEONGCHANG, March 18 (Xinhua) -- The 2018 Paralympic Winter Games wrapped up the 10-day journey of para-athletes with a closing ceremony on Sunday, filled with light show and fireworks, breaking multiple records and marking China's first-ever Winter Paralympic gold medal.

China secured a wheelchair curling gold medal on the penultimate day of the Games, which had lasted from March 9 in PyeongChang, an east county of South Korea.

The Chinese team defeated world champion Norway 6-5 in the nail-biting final match, for its first-ever medal, even a gold, in the history of the Paralympic Winter Games.

With the gold, China finished in the 20th place in the medal table, tying with Kazakhstan which also won its first-ever gold medal in the Winter Paralympics.

China's cross-country skier Zheng Peng came fourth in the men's 15km sitting event, making another Winter Games history by taking the highest individual place ever recorded by any Chinese para-athlete.

Host South Korea and Croatia secured their first-ever Winter Games gold medals, ranking 16th and 19th with two bronzes and one bronze added to their medal tallies respectively.

The United States, which sent the largest delegation of 68 athletes, dominated the medal tally with 36 medals in total, including 13 gold, 15 silver and eight bronze medals.

The Neutral Paralympic Athletes (NPA) came second with eight gold, 10 silver and six bronze medals, followed by Canada that took eight gold, four silver and 16 bronze medals.

The NPA refers to Russian para-athletes in PyeongChang as Russians were banned from competing under their national flag for the alleged state-sponsored doping scandal.

The PyeongChang Paralympics broke multiple records, bringing a record number of 567 athletes from 49 delegations all around the world, including the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) that joined the Winter Games for the first time. Georgia and Tajikistan also made their debuts in PyeongChang.

The DPRK's participation made the PyeongChang Paralympics a peace Winter Games as the joint torch relay of one DPRK and one South Korean athlete in the opening ceremony delivered a strong message of peace. The two countries marched together during last month's opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics.

For the past 10 days, athletes competed in 80 medal events, eight more than the previous Sochi Winter Paralympics, across six sports that include Alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, snowboard, ice sledge hockey, wheelchair curling and biathlon.

About 345,000 tickets were sold for the PyeongChang Paralympics, smashing the previous record of 316,200 sales set at the 2014 Sochi Winter Paralympics. Revenue from the ticket sales amounted to 6.95 billion won (6.5 million U.S. dollars).

Covering the competitions were 629 accredited media outlets, 15 percent more than the Sochi Paralympics. A total of 47 broadcast rights holders screened TV pictures to over 100 countries and regions.

During the closing ceremony, the Paralympic flag came down and was handed over by the mayor of PyeongChang to the president of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and then to the mayor of Beijing, the host city of the 2022 Beijing Winter Paralympics.

China's national flag was hoisted to national anthem at the closing ceremony. It was followed by an art performance directed by Zhang Yimou, Chinese film director, raising high anticipations for the next para-athlete event.

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KEY WORDS: Paralympics