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Paralympic Committee Of Moldova
History of the Paralympic Games
The Paralympic movement began with the idea of using sports as a practice for rehabilitating war veterans. In England in 1948 the neurologist, Sir Ludwig Guttman, decided to use sports to improve the quality of life of soldiers mutilated or wounded during the war.
In July of that same year the first edition of the Stoke Mandeville Games was held, at the same time as the opening of the London Olympics. Four years later the International Games on Wheelchairs were held. After the Olympic Games of 1960 in Rome, the first Paralympic Games were held, in which 400 athletes from 23 nations participated. Throughout time the Paralympics movement - which until the Roman Games involved only athletes on wheelchairs - added new classes of participants with different types of physical, visual and mental disabilities.
The prefix "para-", initially deriving from the word paraplegic, acquired a different meaning over the years: today it means parallel. The Paralympics are complementary to the Olympics. The general philosophy of the Paralympic Games is to follow the rules of the Olympic sports as much as possible. Such a philosophy is already implied in the name of the event. The term “Paralympic” derives from the word “Olympic” and the suffix “para”, a Greek preposition, which means “close to”. The Paralympic Games is an elite sports event in terms of both the organization and the actual competition.
Previous Paralympic Games
The VIII Paralympics in Seoul in 1988 was the first time disabled athletes used the same venues and logistics as the Olympics athletes. Albertville hosted the Winter Olympics and the Winter Paralympics simultaneously for the first time in 1992. The VIII Paralympic Winter Games Salt Lake City 2002 featured three sports contested by some 500 elite athletes with disabilities from 35 countries. The IX Paralympics will be held two weeks after the Olympics. Some of the competitions of the five Paralympics disciplines - Biathlon, Alpine skiing, Cross-country skiing, Speed skating and Ice hockey - will be held at the same venues as the Olympics and involve athletes belonging to three categories of disability: visual, motor and mental.
Trade union group “Moldova” and director of Disabled Athletes Association “Handy-Sport” Nicolai Barbieru made a big contribution to the development of sports for the disabled. The new Paralympic Committee of Moldova (PCM) recently established at an official conference will continue the work of these organizations and take on the major goals and principles of the International Committee. It will develop a financial support program, attract disabled athletes to take part in various competitions, and train them to represent Moldova at high level of competition tournaments in other countries.
Representatives of “Handy-Sport” and the Sports Federation for the Deaf, Blind and Physically Disabled, “Olympics” specialized organization, Sportsmen’s Association participants of the Paralympic Games, organizations oriented to support and develop sports among the disabled and responsible workers of the Department of Youth and Sports, National Olympic Committee of Moldova, sports clubs “Olympia” and “Codru”, Student Sports Federation, and National Institute of Physical Education and Sport participated in the discussion of problems faced by the new Paralympic Committee today.
Bronze medallist in ping-pong in Atlanta Olympics 1996 Vladimir Tolkanov was elected president of PCM, former Handy-Sport Chairman Evghenii Cucer was elected vice-president. Proposals for PCM deputies Nicolai Cebanu, Ruslan Lopatiuc, and Sergei Afanasenco were all accepted. The organizers will register official PCM regulations at the Ministry of Justice of Moldova and approve the structural program of leader athletes training for the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens. The government must allocate a monetary grant in order for the team to participate in the try-outs and obtain the necessary score to travel to Greece.
Prepared by Natalia Corobco