IPC PRESIDENT SAYS NORTH KOREA’S OPPORTUNITY TO PARTICIAPTE IN PARIS PARALYMPIC REMAINES OPEN

앤드루 파슨스 IPC 위원장

After closing its borders to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), North Korea returned to the international sports scene at the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games in September last year. Since then, the country has been competing in various international events, including World Cup qualifiers. However, the North Korean Paralympic team is still in the shadows .Initially, North Korea was set to compete at the 2022 Hangzhou Para Asian Games, but withdrew after the country was banned from flying artificial flags for failing to meet World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) regulations. Its participation in the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games is also uncertain. In the meantime, International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President Andrew Parsons has urged North Korea to move forward, saying the country still has a chance to compete in the Paralympic Games.

“The number of countries participating in the Paris Paralympic Games is expected to surpass the London 2012 Games (164 countries),” Parsons said in a recent written interview with Yonhap News Agency, adding that the door is equally open for North Korea to join the Paris Paralympic Games.” Qualification for many sports at the Paris Paralympic Games can be achieved by this summer, so there is still a chance for North Korea to qualify,” he said .He cautioned that the IPC is not yet considering utilizing the “bipartite” system, in which the IPC and international federations negotiate quotas to encourage North Korean participation. “The bipartite system requires National Paralympic Committees to apply to the International Federation and the IPC for places in their sport,” he said. “It does not grant places without an application. In addition, athletes must complete athlete registration and classification in order to be eligible to compete through the Viper Tite program. “The first step is for North Korea to complete the basic administrative steps to compete, such as registering its athletes .Parsons emphasized that regardless of North Korea’s participation, the Paris Paralympic Games will be an opportunity to send a message of peace and unity to the world.

“The current international political situation is very complex and tragic, with wars taking innocent lives,” he said. “The athletes at the Paris Paralympic Games will show the world what it means to be human. “In the interview, Parsons also addressed the issue of Russia and Belarus, which were suspended for their invasion of Ukraine and then partially reinstated for their participation in the Paris Paralympic Games. “We felt that the participation of Russia and Belarus in the Paris Paralympic Games was the most important issue for the members to decide,” Parsons said. “We heard different opinions at the General Assembly, and the members decided to partially suspend the membership of these two countries, so that neutral athletes from these two countries could participate in the Paris Paralympic Games.” Parsons also noted that South Korea is doing a great job of upholding the values, significance and legacy of the Paralympic Games .Since the Pyeong Chang 2018 Paralympic Games, South Korea has opened Bandabi Centers across the country and launched the Para Ice Hockey Academy, among other activities. “I think the legacy of the Seoul 1988 Summer Paralympic Games and the Pyeong Chang 2018 Winter Paralympic Games is underestimated around the world,” Parsons said. “Every time I go to Seoul, it’s amazing to see so many people using the Olympic Park freely.”

“I am very impressed with the various initiatives that the Korean Paralympic Association is undertaking to develop Paralympic sports not only in Korea but also globally,” he said of the Bandabi Sports Center. He also encouraged Korea to expand its Para sports activities and Paralympic legacy. “Korea has some of the best Paralympic sports facilities in the world, including the Icheon Athletes’ Village with the Bandabi Sports Center,” Parsons said. “I wish Korea great success at the Paralympic Games and hope that many people with disabilities will enjoy sport.” “We believe that together with Chung Jin-wan, President of the Korean Paralympic Committee, this will become a reality, and the work that he and the Korean Paralympic Committee have done to develop Paralympic sport can serve as a blueprint for other countries .”The IPC is the premier international sports governing body for para-sport, overseeing the Paralympic Games. It is similar in nature to the International Olympic Committee (IOC).Parsons, a Brazilian, was elected to the position of Executive President of the 온라인카지노 IPC at the 2017 IPC General Assembly and was re-elected in 2021.

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