Coe declares 2012 a ‘Games for all abilities’

From Maggie Lee,, Beijing
The London 2012 Games will be about new standards of sustainability and legacy, as well as a re-thinking of the word “disabled” says chairman Sebastian Coe.

“That word needs to change, that’s what I’m hearing,” Coe said, speaking shortly after arriving in Beijing for the end of the Paralympics. “We will engage all communities – all faiths, no faiths, all abilities or so-called disabled.”

And the underpinning message of Paralympic athlete performances – their abilities – will be spread in a larger context, according to plans from London.

The main domestic project for the handover is the launch of the Paralympics education scheme in schools across the Britain.

More than 4,000 schools have confirmed participation in the programme. London 2012 provides lesson plans, ideas for an assembly and activities plus multimedia materials. And there’s broadcast of the Paralympics closing ceremony to cap a Wednesday school day. London organisers estimate the programme will reach some 2 million students.

At Stoke Mandeville hospital, which hosted the first Games for wheelchair-bound athletes in 1948, the stadium will open for students to attend a handover ceremony.

“The London 2012 Games have a wider focus than venues and a park,” says Coe. “This is a party; we’re inviting the world to a city that welcomes everyone to a party.”

The Beijing Paralympics closing ceremony takes place later today.

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