A ceremony to mark “a year till the London Paralympic Games 2012” was held here at the British High Commission on Monday. British High Commissioner Adam Thomson hosted the reception in company of Pakistani paralympians that participated in earlier Paralympic Games.
Speaking on the occasion, the commissioner said that the United Kingdom intends to host the paralympic games to bring a change in the way people think, feel and behave towards disability and disability sport - in order to create a more open and inclusive society. “The UK is renowned internationally for leading the way in disability equality and we want to maintain this reputation,” he said.
He lauded efforts and performances of Pakistani paralympians who earned many medals in the previous paralympic games. “They are some of the most determined and inspiring athletes I have ever met and are an inspiration for the people of Pakistan,” said Thomson.
“We’re also using the games to encourage more disabled people into sport at the grassroots level. This will not only help us find the next generation of paralympians but also demonstrate how sports can enrich the lives of disabled people,” he added. He said that these games are the pinnacle of an athlete’s career and urged people to participate in these sports and increase social awareness “to help create a more inclusive world”.
The Paralympic Games are the world’s second largest event after the Olympics. Pakistani paralympic athletes have secured 55 medals in international events that include 16 gold medals, 19 silver and 20 bronze. In the 2008 Paralympic Games held in Beijing, Pakistan won the gold medal by breaking the world record for Long Jump.
Those who had won medals in the previous games have high hopes for making it to the London 2012 Paralympic Games starting on August 29, 2012, in which more than 4,200 athletes from 160 countries will compete for 471 medals.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 30th, 2011.