Fri, September 12, 2008
Sports > Shooting

Paralympic shooting ends, inspiration lives on

2008-09-12 13:45:19 GMT2008-09-12 21:45:19 (Beijing Time) Xinhua English

Gold medalist Sweden's Jonas Jacobsson (C), silver medalist China's Zhang Cuiping (L) and bronze medalist Dongchao attend the awarding ceremony for the final of the mixed R6-50m free rifle prone SH1 event of the shooting at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing, China, Sept. 12, 2008. (Xinhua Photo)

BEIJING, Sept. 12 (Xinhua) -- As volunteers were cleaning up the final hall of Beijing Shooting Range, which just half an hour ago was resounded with gunshots, cheers and thunderous applauses, shooters with different skin colors and varying facial expressions pulled their suitcases rushing for the shuttle bus.

Curtain was lowered for the six-day Paralympic shooting competition here on Friday afternoon.

Golds, silvers, sweats, tears, ecstasy, disappointment... The modernistic architecture has witnessed too many moments and felt too many emotions during the transient period that no newspaper could ever bear.

South Korea's Park Sea-Kyun (C), Lee Ju-Hee (L) and Russia's Valeriy Ponomarenko pose for photos during the awarding ceremony for the final of the mixed P4-50m free pistol SH1 event of the shooting at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing, China, Sept. 12, 2008. Park Sea-Kyun claimed the title of the event with a total result of 644.9 points, and set a new world record.

South Korea's Park Sea-Kyun (C), Lee Ju-Hee (L) and Russia's Valeriy Ponomarenko pose for photos during the awarding ceremony for the final of the mixed P4-50m free pistol SH1 event of the shooting at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing, China, Sept. 12, 2008. Park Sea-Kyun claimed the title of the event with a total result of 644.9 points, and set a new world record. (Xinhua Photo)

While marveling at the achievements of legendary Swedish shooter Jonas Jacobsson, let us not to forget Israeli Doron Shaziri, who won the silver of men's 50-meter free rifle three positions SH1.

Primarily a soldier, the sturdy man stepped into a mine field in Lebanon while patrolling one day in 2000 and lost his left leg. "If you can't change the fact, you simply accept it," he recalled calmly. Later he got married and is now father of two.

"What helps you overcome difficulties is not the wheelchair, but your mind," the shooter who likes to tell jokes became serious. "If you live positively and proudly, others will accept you with the same attitude."

While revereing the Australian shooter Libby Kosmala, who was the oldest on the shooting range of the Beijing Paralympics, let us pay the same respect to her teammate 53-year-old Ashley Adams.

After seriously injuring himself in a motorbike accident, the reticent man took up shooting and hasn't looked back since. His event on Friday was mixed 50-meter free rifle prone SH1. For the disabled, prone doesn't necessarily mean lying down -- they could shoot on their wheelchairs with both elbows rested on a plate so that the upper part of their bodies maintained the pose of prone.

But the shooter chose to lie in prostrate position under the help of his coach, although the process was so slow that everybody watching behind could see the difficulty. "He wanted to compete with able-bodied in the Olympics," disclosed someone else. From the rifle that he borrowed from Beijing Olympic bronze medalist Warren Potent, people could see his aspiration and determination. Where there is a dream, there is a way.

Gold medalist Matt Skelhon(C) of Great Britain, silver medalist Zhang Cuiping(L) of China and bronze medalist Sim Jae-Yong of South Korea pose for photo during the awarding ceremony of mixed R3-10m air rifle pronce SH1 of shooting event in Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing, China, Sept. 11, 2008.

Gold medalist Matt Skelhon(C) of Great Britain, silver medalist Zhang Cuiping(L) of China and bronze medalist Sim Jae-Yong of South Korea pose for photo during the awarding ceremony of mixed R3-10m air rifle pronce SH1 of shooting event in Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing, China, Sept. 11, 2008. (Xinhua Photo)

Let the moment freeze, when Russian marksman Valeriy Ponomarenko stretched out his left hand to clasp the right of his teammate Sergey Malyshev after the pair swept gold and silver in men's 10-meter air pistol SH1 -- they both had the other arm gone. Seeing two national flags of the biggest country hoisted to their national anthem, both shooters smiled.

Let the moment freeze, when Lee Ji-Seok took off his gold medal of mixed 10-meter air rifle standing SH2 and put it around the neck of his wife. His armed suffered permanent injuries from an accident in 2001, thus she was standing behind to help him with loading before each shot, despite a six-month pregnancy. "She did so, and it was the loveliest moment," said the champion emotionally although he said he was not good at expressing himself.

 South Korea's Champion Lee Ji-Seok(C) poses for photos with silver medalist Raphael Voltz (L) of France and New Zealand's bronze winner Michael Johnson in the awarding ceremony for the mixed R4-10m air rifle standing SH2 of shooting event in Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing, China, Sept. 11, 2008. Lee claimed the title with a total of 704.3 points.

South Korea's Champion Lee Ji-Seok (C) poses for photos with silver medalist Raphael Voltz (L) of France and New Zealand's bronze winner Michael Johnson in the awarding ceremony for the mixed R4-10m air rifle standing SH2 of shooting event in Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing, China, Sept. 11, 2008. Lee claimed the title with a total of 704.3 points.(Xinhua Photo)

No, not enough.

When Mary Skelhon from Great Britain wept after her son failed to enter the 10m air rifle stand - SH1 final and waved their national flag in excitement after his victory in the prone later, I saw the power of love. Matt Skelhon, with a distinctive Mohican hair style, injured his spine in a car accident three years ago and was hence confined to wheelchair. But the mother said, "I was and am always proud of him, now and in the future."

Gold medalist Jonas Jacobsson(C) of Sweden, silver medalist Doron Shaziri(L) of Israel and bronze medalist Dong Chao of China pose for photo during the awarding ceremony of Men's R7-50m free rifle 3X40 SH1 of shooting event in Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing, China, Sept. 10, 2008.

Gold medalist Jonas Jacobsson(C) of Sweden, silver medalist Doron Shaziri(L) of Israel and bronze medalist Dong Chao of China pose for photo during the awarding ceremony of Men's R7-50m free rifle 3X40 SH1 of shooting event in Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing, China, Sept. 10, 2008.(Xinhua Photo)

When wheelchair shooter Liu Wen-Chang from Chinese Taipei showed a video clip to the coach of the United Arab Emirates, I saw their appreciation of friendship. In the video, Liu's pretty wife who was absent from the Beijing Paralympics wished the man's foreign friends good luck. Disabled at the age of three after a polio, Liu said he used to be self-contemptuous before involved in shooting competitions worldwide. "I broadened my horizon and made a lot of friends and gradually, I became confident," he said.

People said that to some extent, Paralympics are held for the able-bodied people to watch and learn.

Gold medalist Andrey Lebedinskiy (C) of Russia, silver medalist Li Jianfei (L) of China and bronze medalist Valeriy Ponomarenko of Russia pose for pictures in the awarding ceremony of Mixed P3-25m Sport Pistol SH1 of shooting event in Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing, China, Sept. 10, 2008.

Gold medalist Andrey Lebedinskiy (C) of Russia, silver medalist Li Jianfei (L) of China and bronze medalist Valeriy Ponomarenko of Russia pose for pictures in the awarding ceremony of Mixed P3-25m Sport Pistol SH1 of shooting event in Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing, China, Sept. 10, 2008. (Xinhua Photo)

One day, the newspapers covering the Games will get yellow and decay, and the shinning Paralympic medals will be out of memory. But if people can still be inspired by the Paralympic shooters once appearing in the same range of Olympians, the events for the disabled are successful.

Let us once again pay our gratitude and respect to the 329 shooters from 44 countries and regions, for what they taught us: love, friendship, persistence, and undying dream.

 Lee Yun-Ri (C) and Kim Im-Yeon (L) of South Korea wave to the spectators with China's Zhang Cuiping during the awarding ceremony for the women's R8-50m Sport Rifle 3×20-SH1 of shooting event in Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing, China, Sept. 9, 2008. Lee Yun-Ri won the gold with 676.9. Kim Im-Yeon and Zhang Cuiping took the silver and bronze respectively.

Lee Yun-Ri (C) and Kim Im-Yeon (L) of South Korea wave to the spectators with China's Zhang Cuiping during the awarding ceremony for the women's R8-50m Sport Rifle 3×20-SH1 of shooting event in Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing, China, Sept. 9, 2008. Lee Yun-Ri won the gold with 676.9. Kim Im-Yeon and Zhang Cuiping took the silver and bronze respectively.(Xinhua Photo)

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