Disabled Seoul citizens compete in curling, darts and relay in largest-ever competition

Disabled Seoul citizens compete in curling, darts and relay in largest-ever competition


As summer fades to autumn, it’s the perfect
weather for outdoor activities. In tune with the government’s vision of creating
an inclusive nation, a special event was held in Seoul: A citywide sports competition for
citizens with disabilities. Our Oh Soo-young caught up with the participants. It’s a bittersweet moment for 61-year-old
Jeong Byeong-deung 18 years after running a 20 kilometer race
from Eastern to Western Seoul,… he finds himself on the track, once again, at the same
Jamsil stadium. But this time, he’s on a wheelchair. ” I was a track runner in middle school and,
even after my injury, I love just about every sport. It’s good (to be here), and exciting. ” Jeong is one of the 100 contenders taking
part in a citywide sports competition for disabled citizens on Thursday. The turnout has been the largest ever in 11
years with some 3-thousand participants and spectators from 24 districts. “It’s not all about winning of course,
but participants here don’t mind a bit of friendly competition to claim the top prize
for their districts.” There’s good reason to be excited this year,
as there’s a wider range of sports to make the event more inclusive. Take Curling, for instance. 67 year old Song Suk was mostly on the sidelines
of the event in previous years, due to a leg condition she has since birth. But after watching the PyeongChang Winter
Olympics and Paralympics held earlier this year, Song didn’t hesitate to sign herself
up. “I went all the way to Pyeongchang to cheer
on our curling team. It’s a sport that disabled people can do,
even with discomfort in your legs. I’m so nervous and excited.” Seoul authorities hope to empower more citizens
with disabilities with wider access to sports and leisure activities in their daily lives. “Those without disabilities can take a walk,
play sports and enjoy leisure whenever they want. That’s why we support disabled citizens in
Seoul so they can enjoy the same privileges. We’ve seen positive responses to today’s event
and many requests for more sports categories in future competitions.” Supporting such efforts, the Korean government
this month decided to set aside some 5-point-9-million dollars in next year’s budget to promote sports
for disabled citizens,… more than double from this year. Oh Soo-young, Arirang News.

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