Czech team places 16th overall at Paralympics

The ceremonial ending of the Paralympic Games, photo: CTK

The Paralympic Games, the premier sporting event for elite disabled athletes, came to a close on Tuesday at the Olympic Stadium in Athens. Brian Kenety joins me in the studio now with the details.

The ceremonial ending of the Paralympic Games,  photo: CTK
The Paralympics has its roots in a sports event organized as therapy for rehabilitation for disabled World War II veterans. This time held in Athens, Greece, these were the twelfth Paralympics games.

Nearly 4,000 athletes from 136 countries competed over 12 days, in swimming, table tennis, judo, wheelchair basketball and volleyball and a dozen other sports.

China, which will host the next Paralympics along with the 2008 Olympic Games, dominated the medals at the Paralympics, winning 63 gold medals, nearly twice as many as its closest rival, Britain. China also topped the final medal standings, which featured a total of 75 teams.

Martin Kovar,  photo: CTK
And the question we've all been waiting for -- how did the Czechs fare?

The Czech Republic, a country with a far smaller population than the top finishers, like China — which I've read has 60 million disable people — did exceptionally well, finishing 12th in terms of gold medals and 16th overall, with Czech athletes bringing home 16 gold, 8 silver and 7 bronze medals.

The Czech swimmer Martin Kovar, who was disabled by a spinal cord injury, eclipsed the world record in the 100-metre freestyle by almost two seconds. He went on to win three gold medals, the last of which Czech Prime Minister Stanislav Gross presented to him while in Athens for an official visit.