Opening ceremony of Winter Paralympics 2018

The South Korean Government has confirmed its intention to steadily phase out the country’s controversial grade system for disabled people

The 2018 Paralympic Winter Games begin Friday with the opening ceremony in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Taking "Passion Moves Us" as its theme, the opening ceremony of the first Winter Paralympics in South Korea took place at the 35,000-seat Olympic Stadium in PyeongChang, Gangwon Province.

The two Koreas had marched together at the opening ceremony of last month's Winter Olympics in symbolic moment of unification that was welcomed across the globe.

According to the Google Doodle blog, there are more women competing in this year's Paralympic games than any previous games: "Over 670 athletes, including more female athletes than ever before, have the chance to show their skills after years of hard work and training". There are a record 80 gold medals up for grab, South Korean News Agency (Yonhap) reported.

North Korean officials said they do "not accept the fact that Dokdo can not be marked due to political issues held in Korea", Reuters reported.

During the Winter Olympics, the two Koreas marched under a unified flag that displayed Korea with a set of islands in the Sea of Japan, which are now the subject of a territorial dispute. The disagreement comes over the exclusion of South Korean-controlled and Japanese-contested disputed islands, known as Dokdo in Korean and Takeshima in Japanese.

International Paralympic Committee president Andrew Parsons impressed by starting his speech in Korean, adding: "Paralympic sport not only changes lives but changes the world".

Patmore's performance has erased fears Australia would go medal-less at a Winter Paralympics for the first time since Innsbruck, Austria in 1988. It was there that Trump accepted an invitation to meet Kim passed along by the South Koreans.

"Your extraordinary stories are what dreams are made of and will be told for years to come".

The athletics lineup includes alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing, ice hockey, snowboarding and wheelchair curling. They will compete as individuals because Russian Federation is banned from the Games, due to a doping scandal.

Among the participants of the Games, 30 Paralympic athletes of Ukraine.

The United States, with 68 athletes, brought the largest team, followed by Canada (52) and Japan (38), while Georgia and Tajikistan joins North Korea in making their Winter Paralympic debuts.

"We were still negotiating right up until the very last moment".

American Daniel Cnossen, a former US Navy Seal, took gold in the men's sit ski.

Team Japan athletes wave miniature flags during the opening ceremony.

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