First medal at Paralympics

Concratulation! Manuela Schmermund won the first medal at the Paralympics in China for the German team. The 36-year-old from Hesse won silver in air rifle shooting. And how Manuela Schmermund had to fight! In the preliminary round things didn't go well for her, she only finished 4th.

But in the final on Sunday ...

... she reached the second place. Manuela Schmermund is partially paralyzed and needs a wheelchair. In Beijing 171 German athletes will compete. A total of 4000 disabled athletes from 148 countries will take part. The Paralympics opened on Saturday with a gigantic celebration in Beijing. The disabled Chinese high jumper Hou Bin ignited the flame for the Paralympics in the "Bird's Nest" stadium. He pulled himself up in a wheelchair on a rope at a height of 40 meters. Many spectators were very touched by the performance of the eleven-year-old ballet student Li Yue. The girl had lost her left leg in an earthquake in China in May. Together with 100 ballet girls without hearing she danced. She sat in a wheelchair and moved her upper body, her arms and her right leg.

Many praised the great opening and also the conditions for the disabled athletes. But there are also critics who say: "This is all theatre, in China disabled people have a particularly hard time. But others answer: Perhaps the Paralympics are the reason why the attitude towards disabled people in the country is gradually changing.

The Paralympics take place just two weeks after the end of the Olympic Games in Beijing.

Source:, 07.09.2008

Über die Autorin/den Autor
Diana Saft ist staatlich anerkannte Heilpädagogin und Heilerziehungspflegerin. Sie sammelte bisher Erfahrungen in einem Seniorenheim, in einem Wohnheim für Menschen mit Behinderungen, in einem integrativen Kindergarten und in einem deutschen Kindergarten in den USA.

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