Flame for Beijing Paralympic Winter Olympics is lit



The flame for the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Gameshas been lit at Stoke Mandeville Stadium in Buckinghamshire, north of London.

Following on from the successful Beijing winter Olympics, the Paralympic winter games will open in Beijing on Friday.

The venue for the lighting of the flame was chosen due to the history of Stoke Mandeville, the site of a leading spinal injuries hospital. In 1948 the hospital organized the first sports competition for the physically disabled. The event is generally regarded as the birth of the Paralympic movement.

Representatives of the British and International Paralympic movement and China's Ambassador to London Zheng Zeguang attended the event.

"This is a flame of courage, determination, inspiration, and equality that will burn bright and light up the cold winter days. It will bring us health, joy, and vitality. For persons with disabilities from all corners of the world, it will ignite the confidence and courage inside and light up the way ahead," Zhen Zeguang said ahead of the event.

The first torchbearers are two of Britain's wheelchair curling Paralympic medal winners, Angie Malone and Aileen Neilson.

The Paralympics will take place from March 4th to the 13th and are expected to be among the biggest ever, with around 600 athletes from more than 50 countries.

They will compete in 78 events in five sports: Alpine skiing, Nordic Skiing (biathlon and Cross country), para ice hockey, snowboarding, and wheelchair curling.

The Paralympic flame will be sent virtually from Stoke Mandeville to Beijing, where it will be combined with other flames seeded around China.

They will all be combined into a single flame on Wednesday at the Temple of Heaven in Beijing.

Stoke Mandeville Hospital opened one of the world's first spinal injury units during world war two. Its founder Sir Ludwig Guttmann believed that sport was an effective therapy for injured military personnel, helping them build up physical strength and confidence.

The Paralympics was first launched in 1960 in Rome, and ever since the 2012 London Paralympics, the flame lighting ceremony has taken place at Stoke Mandeville.