Hangzhou Asian Para Games closes

As hearts met and dreams shone over the past seven days, the 4th Asian Para Games closed in Hangzhou on Saturday night.

Some 3,021 athletes from 44 countries and regions took part in the Hangzhou Asian Para Games, which marked the second time that China has hosted the continental para multi-sports event following its inaugural edition in 2010. A total of 468 athletes clinched at least one medal, setting 21 new world records, 72 new Asian records and 283 Games records across 22 sports.

Chinese State Councilor Shen Yiqin, Asian Paralympic Committee (APC) president Majid Rashed and chairman of the China Disabled Persons’ Federation Cheng Kai attended the closing ceremony at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center Stadium on Saturday night.

“Through the tireless efforts of all parties, we have delivered on our promise to stage ‘two Games of equal splendor’. We will never forget the many fantastic moments where para athletes from 44 countries and regions in Asia chase their dreams and push their limits,” said Cheng, who is also president of the Asian Para Games Hangzhou Organizing Committee (HAPGOC).

“They have shown tenacity and the sportsmanship of unity, friendship, fair play and competition, and set one record after another. Their brilliant scoreboard testified to the value and meaning of life, and touched our hearts and our souls,” he added.

Rashed declared the 4th Asian Para Games closed, and praised the Games as “surpassing expectation.”

“I said that I thought this would be the biggest and best Asian Para Games ever, but it has surpassed my expectations,” Rashed said in his speech.

“To the Chinese government and HAPGOC, thank you for your leadership and your commitment to making these Games such a success. Everything that has been done with such dedication, such care and such diligence,” the APC president noted. “These truly have been two Games of equal splendor.”

Rashed expressed his gratitude to the athletes for the inspiration they have brought, adding “you have shown the world that there are no limits to what can be achieved with determination and courage. All of this shows that the Paralympic Movement in Asia is getting stronger.”

Led by Afghanistan, the flags of the participating countries and regions entered the stadium followed by parade of athlete representatives, with spectators paying tribute with applause and chants.

Swimmer Jiang Yuyan, who won a record seven gold medals and one bronze medal in Hangzhou, served as the flagbearer for the Chinese delegation at the closing ceremony.

After lowering the APC flag and playing the APC anthem, Hangzhou Mayor Yao Gaoyuan handed over the flag to Rashed, who entrusted it to Hideaki Ohmura, governor of Aichi prefecture and Hideo Nakata, deputy mayor of Nagoya, the host city of the 2026 Asian Para Games.

The closing ceremony reached its pinnacle when an 8,000-year-old canoe dubbed the “first canoe of China” appeared on the center stage.

Two hearing-impaired children along with a non-disabled child rode the canoe towards the cauldron, implying that children with dreams will eventually realize their dreams, accompanied and supported by love.

Echoing with the opening ceremony, a digital “Divine Bird” from the local Liangzhu Culture hovered around the stadium and waved its wings gently, bidding farewell to the Asian Para Games cauldron with affection. The bird then turned into the mascot of the Hangzhou Asian Para Games “Fei Fei” and blew out the cauldron.

China was represented by 439 athletes in 390 events of 22 sports. They set 12 new world records and 36 Asian records. After winning 214 golds, 167 silvers and 140 bronzes, China secured its best record at an Asian Para Games and finished atop the medal tally for the fourth consecutive edition.

Iran and Japan sit second and third in the tally with 44-46-41 and 42-49-52 respectively. Thirty-three countries and regions claimed at least one medal, equaling the record in 2018, while Yemen, Nepal and Kyrgyzstan won their first ever medal at the Asian Para Games.

Canoe and taekwondo made their debut at the Asian Para Games, while Chinese athletes took part in lawn bowls, chess and Go for the first time in Hangzhou.

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