The largest-ever Winter Paralympics officially opened in Pyeonchang, South Korea, on 9 March. The Games started off with a colourful opening ceremony that celebrated the themes of passion and peace, held at the Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium.
The 2018 Paralympics witnesses the participation of over 570 athletes from 49 nations, and competitions are held across six Winter Paralympic sports. This year’s Games will also offer the most number of gold medals in the history of the Paralympics with 80, eight more than at Sochi 2014. The Games will conclude on 18 March.
The Winter Paralympics are taking place at the same venues as the Winter Olympic Games, with most snow sports being held in PyeongChang, while alpine skiing events are contested in Jeongseon, 215 Km east of Seoul and all ice sports held in Gangneung, a coastal city in Gangwon Province.
This year, North Korea, along with Georgia and Tajikistan, is participating for the first ever time at a Paralympic Game. North Korea, which was granted an exceptional invitation by the International Paralympic Committee to take part in the Games, has two athletes in cross-country skiing. North Korea’s participation at the Paralympics marks a wider rapprochement and cooling of tension on the Korean Peninsula. The Winter Paralympics follows the successfully concluded 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games, which came to a close on February 25th. Korea hopes that these second Olympic Games to be held in the country will provide the momentum to accelerate peace and stability not only on the Korean peninsula, but in Northeast Asia and around the world. At the same time, Korea believes that the Pyeongchang 2018 Games will be an excellent opportunity to further promote Olympic values in Asia, while creating a new legacy for winter sports across the region.
Pyeongchang Paralympics sets new record for ticket sales
The Pyeongchang Paralympics have set a new record for ticket sales, crossing 320,531 on Tuesday to break previous mark set in Sochi four years ago, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) said in a statement.
Sales for the March 9-18 Paralympics surpassed the 316,200 tickets sold in the Sochi edition by Monday. The latest figure is nearly double the 162,974 tickets sold during the 2006 event in Turin, the IPC said.
The IPC said the figures highlight a growing global interest in Paralympic sports.
“It is fantastic news that Pyeongchang 2018 has now sold a record number of tickets to the Paralympic Winter Games,” IPC President Andrew Parsons said in a statement. “After three days of competition, the response from athletes and Koreans has been outstanding. I now hope (the organising committee) can increase the sales target further with six days of competition to go.”