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16 September 2004, 06:35 am
An Elite Sports Competition
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2004 Paralympic Games
Athens

4,000 athletes, representing 140 countries in 19 sports, will participate in the ATHENS 2004 Paralympic Games, taking place from 17-28 September 2004.
It is a top-level sports event of equal value to that of the Olympic Games and at which for the first time in its history the athletes will not be asked to give any financial sum for their participation.

During the Paralympic Games, Athens will offer hospitality to 3,000 press officials, 1,000 technical officials and judges, 2,000 team escorts and 2,500 official guests. In order to cover the needs for the organisation of the Paralympic Games 35,000 people are employed, with the 15,000 of them being volunteers

In one day the Paralympic Games will be opened in the Olympic Stadium in Athens. Paralympic athletes will demonstrate their extraordinary talents and beat some new records that sometimes even exceed able-bodied athletes' performances.

Records Exceed Able-Bodied Performances
Many records set by athletes with a disability can be compared to those set by their able-bodied counterparts, for example: In power lifting, currently four men's and two women's world records are held by athletes with a disability. In several cases, the Paralympic records are significantly better than the records of able-bodied athletes by up to 14.5 kilograms.

Fast over 100 meters
In the men's 100m sprint, the world record of 10.72 seconds, held by Adjibola ADEOYE (NIG), an athlete with an upper limb amputation, is only 0.94 seconds more than the able-bodied world record of 9.78 seconds held by Tim MONTGOMERY (USA). The world record in the women's 100m sprint of 12.28 seconds, held by Marla RUNYAN(USA) who has a visual impairment, is only 1.79 seconds more than the able-bodied world record of 10.49 seconds held by Florence GRIFFITH JOYNER (USA).

Close To Popov's Record
In swimming, the men's 50m freestyle record held by the Paralympic athlete Andrey STROKIN (RUS) (24.67) is only 3.03 seconds more than the able-bodied record held by Alexander POPOV (RUS) (21.64).

Wheelchairs As An Advantage
Proving that a wheelchair is not a disadvantage, but sometimes an advantage, a number of athletics records set by athletes with a disability are significantly faster than their able-bodied counterparts: In the men's 800m, the record held by Ernst VAN DYK (RSA) (1:32.17) is 8.94 seconds better than the record held by Wilson KIPKETER (DEN) (1:41.11).

Amazing Records In Marathons
In the women's Marathon, the record by Tsuchida WAKADO (JPN) (1:38:32) is 36:53 minutes better than the record held by Paula RADCLIFF (GBR) (2:15:25). In the men's Marathon, Heinz FREI (SUI) (1:20:14) holds a record which exceeds Paul TERGAT'S (KEN) record (2:04:55) by 44:41 minutes.

2004 Paralympic Sailing Competition
The ISAF website will bring you daily reports and results from the 2004 Paralympic Sailing Competition at www.sailing.org/paralympics2004
ISAF (Source: IOC)
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