Korean Paralympians head to Tokyo ahead of 2020 Games

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Korean Paralympians head to Tokyo ahead of 2020 Games

The Korean Paralympic team arrives at Incheon International Airport in Incheon on Wednesday morning to depart for the Tokyo Paralympics that will take place from Tuesday to Sep. 5. [NEWS1]

The Korean Paralympic team arrives at Incheon International Airport in Incheon on Wednesday morning to depart for the Tokyo Paralympics that will take place from Tuesday to Sep. 5. [NEWS1]

 
The Korean Paralympic team departed Incheon International Airport in Incheon on Wednesday morning for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.
 
Korea is one of 167 countries, including the refugee Paralympic team, participating in the Tokyo Paralympics. 
 
A total of 159 people are headed to the Games, including 86 athletes that will compete in 14 sports: Archery, athletics, badminton, boccia, cycling, judo, weightlifting, rowing, shooting, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo, basketball and tennis. Badminton and taekwondo will make their Paralympic debuts in Tokyo.
 
The 45 members of the swimming and table tennis teams were first to jet off with weightlifters and basketball players departing on Thursday, archers, paddlers and tennis players on Aug. 20, athletics and boccia athletes on Aug. 21, shooters and cyclists on Aug. 24, badminton players and judokas on Aug. 25 and Taekwondo practitioners on Aug. 30.
 
"I am proud of our athletes who trained through the hard times especially when the Paralympics were postponed a whole year due to Covid-19," said Korea Paralympic Committee Chairman Jeong Jin-wan. "We will support our athletes and channel the excitement from the Tokyo Olympics into the Paralympics."
 
Members of the Korean Paralympic team poses for a picture before taking off for the Tokyo Paralympics on Wednesday morning at Incheon International Airport in Incheon. [NEWS1]

Members of the Korean Paralympic team poses for a picture before taking off for the Tokyo Paralympics on Wednesday morning at Incheon International Airport in Incheon. [NEWS1]

 
Team Korea's best year at the Paralympics was the 1988 Seoul Games, when it won 40 gold, 35 silver and 19 bronze medals to sit at seventh out of the 61 countries on the medal table. At Beijing 2008, Korea won 10 gold medals to come 13th, then at London 2012, Korea won nine gold medals to come 12th. At Rio 2016, Korea won seven gold medals and fell down to 20th.
 
The Paralympic Games first took place in Rome, Italy in 1960, with 400 athletes from 23 countries competing. Prior to the 1960 Games, a series of competitions known collectively as the Stoke Mandeville Games were held in England, with these events now considered the precursor to the modern Paralympics. The Summer Paralympics have been held every four years since 1960, with the Winter Games starting in 1976 in Sweden.
 
The 1988 Seoul Games was the first time that the Paralympics started taking place in the same venue as the Olympics. Now, Tokyo marks the 16th Paralympic Games and is the first city to stage the Paralympics for the second time, having hosted the event in 1964. A record number of female athletes, at least 40.5 percent of all athletes, will compete at the Tokyo Games.

BY YUN SO-HYANG [yun.sohyang@joongang.co.kr]
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