— Published 24 October 2023

Hangzhou back on track

No respite in Hangzhou. Two weeks after the end of the 19th Asian Games (September 23 to October 8), the Paralympic version of the continental event kicked off on Sunday October 22 with a grandiose opening ceremony. In the front row of the official tribune, the Chinese vice-premier, Ding Xuexiang, was invited by protocol to declare the Games open before the lighting of the flame by Chinese swimmer Xu Jialing, seven-time gold medallist at the Jakarta 2018 Asian Paralympic Games. Nearly 3,100 athletes from 44 countries will compete in the 564 events of the 22 sports on the programme. Unsurprisingly, the Chinese are announcing a record edition in terms of size and participation, with 2,090 delegation officials, 1,550 technical officials and 3,090 media representatives. China has also thought big for its delegation, the largest in history with 439 athletes taking part in 397 events, but also the youngest, with an average age of just 26.5.