Some 42,000 people turned out last Thursday for the largest-ever International Paralympic Day at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. Paralympic athletes competed in sports ranging from biathlon and wheelchair basketball to long jump and football five-a-side. Organized and hosted by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), the event was staged to spread the message of the paralympic games and the paralympic movement.
In the long-jump competition, Germany?s Matthias Schröder jumped 22.5 feet to win. He was followed by Thomas Ulbricht, also of Germany, at 20.5 feet, and Casey Tibbs of the United States at just more than 20 feet. In the women?s long jump, Katrin Müller-Rothgardt led the field at 16 feet.
The German men defeated the women?s Chinese National Team in wheelchair basketball by 54-22 while the National Team of Bosnia and Herzegowina bested Germany in sitting volleyball by two sets to one. Spain defeated Germany in football 5-a-side.
“This is a very special day,” said IPC President Sir Philip Craven in opening remarks to the crow. It is a time when paralympic athletes step into the spotlight to showcase their talents for the sheer joy and to demonstrate their strength and skill and the atmosphere of fun and excitement that has become the trademark of the paralympic games.”