Home » The 4th Asian Para Games Torch Relay Begins at Jiande Station: Promoting Inclusion and Equality for People with Disabilities

The 4th Asian Para Games Torch Relay Begins at Jiande Station: Promoting Inclusion and Equality for People with Disabilities

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Hangzhou Hosts the 4th Asian Para Games Torch Relay in Jiande Station

Hangzhou, China – The starting ceremony for the Jiande Station of the 4th Asian Para Games Torch Relay was held at the “Two Museums and Two Centers” in Jiande, Hangzhou on October 19th. Torch bearer He Junquan, famously known as the “Armless Frog King,” expressed his gratitude for the changing perception of society towards people with disabilities. He believes that the change in titles, from “disabled person” to “disabled person,” reflects a more open and inclusive society.

The torch relay, under the theme “A happy and livable city, a sample of shared wealth through culture and tourism,” covered a total distance of 7.6 kilometers. The relay began at the “Two Pavilions and Two Centers” in Jiande City, passing through scenic green mountains and clear river waters. Important relay locations included Baisha Bridge, Xin’anjiang Bridge, Summer Winter Swimming Base, and Xin’anjiang Hydropower Station. A total of 128 torch bearers participated in the relay.

The Asian Para Games torchbearers consisted of disabled athletes, coaches, representatives from various industries, and individuals passionate about helping the disabled. Their participation symbolizes the spirit of sports and contributes to achieving the vision of the Hangzhou Asian Para Games.

During the ceremony, the flame of the Asian Paralympic Games was delivered to Fu Yongwei, Secretary of the Jiande Municipal Party Committee, who then passed it to the first torchbearer, Zhu Yiling, also known as the “Slow Flying Angel”. Despite his challenges, Zhu has represented the Zhejiang Special Olympics Football Team in the National Special Olympics multiple times. In 2019, he led the China Special Olympics Men’s Basketball Team to win a silver medal in the Abu Dhabi Summer Special Olympics.

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Zhu expressed his honor and pride at being the first torchbearer. In English, he introduced the beauty of Hangzhou, saying, “Beautiful Hangzhou welcomes you! Welcome to Hangzhou. It’s a beautiful city!”

Local residents warmly welcomed the torch relay with traditional cultural performances, including the “Yanzhou Shrimp Lantern” with a history of over 600 years and performances by the She ethnic minority.

Jiande is renowned for its historical and cultural heritage as well as being an early pioneer in “greenhouse strawberry” cultivation. Torchbearer Li Jianwei, known as the “berry farmer,” has been instrumental in introducing “Jiande Strawberry” to the international market, filling the winter strawberry gap in Uzbekistan.

Li spoke about the significance of the Hangzhou Asian Para Games torch relay, stating, “This is an affirmation of my dedication to strawberry cultivation for over 30 years. It can also serve as an example for more ‘second-generation farmers’ and ‘second-generation entrepreneurs,’ showing them that ‘small strawberries’ can also have a ‘big world.'”

As the torchbearer He Qun ascended Zijin No. 1 Bridge, symbolizing progress in infrastructure construction, she reflected on the positive changes in society for people with disabilities. As a local blind masseur and volunteering for 26 years, He Qun leads the “Warm Hands” volunteer service team, consisting of visually impaired individuals, in various volunteer activities.

He Qun expressed her joy and fulfillment in being a volunteer and encouraged other disabled individuals to integrate into society. She noted the great progress in infrastructure, such as blind paths, toilets for disabled people, and barrier-free elevators, indicating a more open, equal, and inclusive society.

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Despite continuous rain, the torch relay followed the rising Xin’an River, accompanied by the vibrant energy of the dragon boat team. The relay aims to inspire more individuals with the spirit of self-improvement.

The next stop for the 4th Asian Para Games Torch Relay in Hangzhou will be Tonglu County, continuing to highlight the concept of “sunshine, harmony, self-reliance, and sharing.” The relay showcases the achievements in the development of sports for disabled individuals and promotes the cause of disabled people with Chinese characteristics.

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