North Korean Paralympics Athletes Arrive in South Korea

Mar 09, 2018, 08:59
North Korean Paralympics Athletes Arrive in South Korea

While Soohorang an Asiatic white tiger was the mascot of Winter Olympics 2018 held in PyeongChang in South Korea, Bandabian, the Asiatic black bear is the mascot of the Winter Paralympics 2018 in South Korea. After first being nominated to the Canadian Para-Alpine Ski Development Team at age 16, Pemble has been training at the Canadian Sport School in Victoria in both para-alpine and para-cycling.

Three countries, including North Korea, will be making Paralympic debuts when the Games open in two days.

The North is sending two cross-country skiers - Kim Jong-hyon and Ma Yu-chol - to the Winter Paralympics, the first time it has ever sent athletes to the event, and the IPC had offered athletes from the neighbours the chance to march together at the opening ceremony.

The unprecedented meeting came as a result of the Olympic-led thawing of diplomatic tension between the neighboring states.

IPC president Andrew Parsons this week said classification was "one of the major issues" facing Paralympic sports, and organisers will have their work cut out avoiding controversies in Pyeongchang.

The IPC and the countries' Paralympic representatives met in the Paralympic Village to discuss the possibility of marching under the same conditions as their Olympic counterparts, but a deal couldn't be reached.

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As all of our Canadian Olympic team have now returned home to their families and gotten on with the rest of their hectic lives, hopefully they and thousands of others in the future will always be given the funding, opportunity, and ongoing support to pursue the incredible opportunities and dreams of representing their nation throughout the world, not only in the Olympics, but in all levels of sports competition.

There will be, however, an athlete in South Korea's para ice hockey team who was born north of the border.

In an interview with The Guardian, Choi admitted he is concerned about potentially awkward encounters with his former countrymen.

"In my many years of racing as a professional I've learned it takes a few key components to be successful; Support from the people around you, a whole lot of Determination and the right Tools for the job", he said on the BioDapt website. "They'll think I'm a traitor". According to the Paralympics Games website, 50 nations are participating in the event. Seven months after his accident, he went on to win a silver medal on his dirt bike in the adaptive Super-X competition at the Summer X Games.

The IPC banned Russian Federation in 2016 after revelations of a widespread and highly orchestrated doping scandal.

In January, the IPC reiterated that the ban would be maintained throughout the PyeongChang Games, despite the International Olympic Committee's announcement last week that Russia's Olympic membership has been reinstated.

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The Canadian Paralympic Team is sending 55 athletes to PyeongChang, and almost half of them have a connection to British Columbia. The banked slalom event, new to this year's Paralympics, will be held March 16.

Among the most remarkable stories of the Games is that of USA engineer-turned-para-snowboarder Mike Schultz. He competes on a prosthetic leg he developed and built himself, now used by hundreds of athletes and amputees across North America. "Which is good... Blind guy will just wander all over".

The festivities begin Friday with the opening ceremony at 5:30 a.m. ET with a pre-show hosted by Andi Petrillo and 19-time Paralympic medallist Stephanie Dixon.

About the Canadian Paralympic Team in PyeongChang: Canada is represented by 55 athletes in five sports at the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games, taking place March 9 to 18.

PyeongChang 2018 Organizing Committee President Lee Hee-beom said: "PyeongChang 2018 is ready to inspire, educate and excite the world".

For Nicholson, McKeever is a "fantastic ambassador" of Canadian sport who shows that Canada's athletes are among the best in the world.

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"In 2006... I can honestly say it's a moment I will never forget", Nicholson said.

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