Back to Beijing for Paralympics
By Kang Seung-woo
Two weeks after the Beijing Olympics came to an end, the capital of China will hail another Summer Olympics, or The 2008 Summer Paralympic Games.
The Paralympic will take place Saturday for 12 days and a total of 7,383 members, including 4,099 athletes, from 148 countries will compete in 20 sports for 295 gold medals.
The torch relay, which started on Aug. 29, covered 11 provinces, estimated at 1.3 million kilometers or so until it arrived back in Beijing Friday.
South Korea has dispatched 77 athletes and 54 officials for 13 events, including athletics, archery, weightlifting, shooting and swimming, and set its eye on 13 gold medals for 14th place.
Favored lifter Park Jong-cheol will carry the South Korean flag during the opening ceremony.
The Asian nation participated in the third Paralympics in Tel Aviv, Israel in 1968 for the first time and the Beijing Games mark its 11th appearance.
South Korea's best achievement came in 1988 when the host won 40 golds to rank seventh.
Meanwhile, many heads, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, will be present at the opening ceremony and Prime Minister Han Seung-soo will also join them.