Following is the full text of the speech delivered by Philip Craven, president of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) at the closing ceremony of the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games on Wednesday night:
Closing Speech for the XIII Paralympic Games
17 September 2008
Zun Jing de Hu Jintao zhu xi ji Fu Ren
(Respected President Hu Jintao and Mrs. Hu)
Athletes, Officials, Distinguished Guests
Paralympic Sports fans from all over the world:
Wan Shang hao Huan Ying Ni men
(Good Evening, Welcome to all of you)
2,500 years ago Confucius said, "You Peng Zi Yuan Fang Lai, Bu Yi Yue Hu? "
"There are friends who have come from afar, is that not after all delightful?"
On behalf of all members of the Paralympic Family, may I take the liberty to paraphrase the Good man's great words. "It is equally delightful to come from afar and make new friends here in China".
We have to give a big thank you to BOCOG and its President, Liu Qi,
the fantastic volunteers,
The officials and staff of the IPC, the IFs and NPCs
the 5,500 media who have covered the Games and, in particular Manolo Romero and his team for the television images,
and last but certainly not least you, the inspirational spectators.
What a great Paralympic Games this has been!
An ethereal Opening Ceremony,
Staggering athletic performances in perfect stadia,
The best-ever Paralympic Villages,
Amazing high definition television coverage,
A never-ending and self-generating supply of passion and emotion,
Millions of new Paralympic sports afficionados both here in China and around the world
These are the greatest Paralympic Games EVER.
It is all about spirit.
The Paralympic spirit that is ever bright in our movement, found here in China, a kindred spirit. It reached out to you, you embraced it and it is now cherished in your hearts. Now these spirits are united,
and "One People" has become a reality.
All athletes, coaches and officials should take the unique sporting spirit from these Games to the four corners of this planet, Earth. There, encourage new athletes, make new friends and inspire them to light the flame in their hearts.
Finally the time has come for me to declare the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games closed.
I call upon Paralympic athletes from all over the world to meet in London in four years time when once again you will inspire and excite the world with your sporting excellence.