Para athlete from Russia Rumyantseva wins gold in biathlon at 2018 Paralympics

Owen Pick holds Union Flag

The Paralympics in South Korea opened Friday with a glittering ceremony that mixed spectacular light shows and fireworks with traditional Korean performances and modern pop music.

The opening ceremony took place on Friday at the city's Olympic stadium.

The Paralympics will see 567 athletes from 49 countries compete for medals in 80 disciplines until March 18.

At the summer Games achievements of Ukrainian Paralympic athletes are even more impressive: in Atlanta-1996, Sydney-2000, Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio de Janeiro in 2016 "blue-yellow" team won the 374 medals (125, 115, 134)!

In the stands of the Alpensia Biathlon Centre, spectators watching the North's first Winter Paralympians welcomed their presence as a sign of improving ties, and said they hoped the rapprochement would last. Russian athletes, competing under a neutral flag after a mass doping scandal, clinched two golds while France also won two.

He was supported by the excited dancing of partially-sighted skier Kelly Gallagher, who made history in Sochi four years ago by becoming Britain's first Winter Paralympic champion.

Switzerland's Theo Gmur took his first Paralympic gold in the men's standing skiing, and USA skier Andrew Kurka, the reigning downhill world champion, won the race in the men's sitting category.

In his opening remarks, IPC president Andrew Parsons spoke about the growth of the Games and their impact on lives around the world.

North Korea had wanted to use a version of the Korean peninsula flag that includes islands disputed with Japan. The Koreas fielded a joint women's hockey team and North Korea sent high-ranking diplomats to the Games, including Kim's own sister, Kim Yo Jong.

21-year-old alpine skier Momoka Muraoka led the Japanese delegation at the opening ceremony.

The two Korean nations agreed to "respect each other's stance and march separately" following the flag disagreement, BBC reported.

The opening ceremony for the ...

But the disagreement is considered a minor sticking point after what has been a swift thaw between the neighbours, starting with North Korea's decision in January to participate in the Olympics.

The rapid inter-Korean thaw has eased tensions that soared past year when Pyongyang tested missiles that could reach the U.S. mainland and detonated what it said was an H-bomb.



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