The Ukrainian Paralympic Team was officially the first to arrive in the Chinese capital of Beijing late last week. The delegation of athletes and officials, which landed at the Beijing Capital International Airport on Thursday, spent less than eight minutes clearing through customs, according to The International Paralympic Committee. Beijing, as the host of the 2008 Paralympic Games, had opened a special passage and assigned 12 policemen to help facilitate the procedure.
Earlier in the month, the team was given a proper send-off ceremony in Ukraine to celebrate the journey to Beijing. The event took place at the National Historical and Architectural Monument Museum in Kyiv and comprised of singers and performers, as well as government officials. The Ukrainian delegation includes 126 athletes expected to compete in various sports.
Family, Youth and Sports Minister of Ukraine, Yuriy Pavlenko, signed an official order before the send-off, labelled, “On Participation of the National Team of Ukraine and the Official Delegation in the Summer Paralympic Games”. This was a document to essentially approve the participation of the national team and the official delegation, the Ministry’s press service noted.
The Paralympic delegations from Cuba and Ireland are scheduled to be the next official arrivals respectively. The Paralympic Games will be held in Beijing from 6-17 September with around 4,000 athletes from 150 countries participating in 20 sports.