Winter Paralympics Opening Ceremony gets underway with dazzling fireworks display

Winter Paralympics Opening Ceremony gets underway with dazzling fireworks display

The series of conciliatory steps culminated this week in US President Donald Trump agreeing to a historic meeting with the North's leader Kim Jong-Un.

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea The opening ceremony of the biggest Winter Paralympics yet unfolded Friday night with a glittering performance that championed a world of coexistence where differences are embraced and understood.

The North is sending two cross-country skiers - Kim Jong-hyon and Ma Yu-chol - to the Winter Paralympics, the first time it has ever sent athletes to the event, and the IPC had offered athletes from the neighbours the chance to march together at the opening ceremony.

But after lengthy negotiations Thursday, the Korea Paralympic Commitee (KPC) said there would be no joint march as the North "cannot accept the fact that it is not allowed to display Dokdo in the unification flag during the Games".

From March 14 to 19, 2018, I will travel to South Korea to attend the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games.

North Korea took center stage at the ceremony.

The $106m 35,000-seater stadium, which will be pulled down after the closing ceremony, appeared to be about two thirds full, and the crowd watched a ceremony consisting of traditional Korean dance, combined with modern music and blended with light shows. It emphasized that not showing the islets hurts the pride of Koreans.

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Several of those performing had disabilities - a drummer with a prosthetic arm and legs beat a giant traditional drum, and a choir of wheelchair-bound performers sang the South Korean anthem. The symbolic gesture made up for the fact that North and South Korea marched separately into the opening ceremony. Para ice hockey will take place at the Gangneung Hockey Centre and wheelchair curling will be staged in the Gangneung Curling Centre.

The NPA refers to Russian para-athletes in PyeongChang as Russians were banned from competing under its national flag for the alleged state-sponsored doping scandal.

Sin's bronze was South Korea's first medal in cross-country skiing at the Winter Paralympics.

It was the Slovakian's sixth Paralympic gold in vision impaired skiing.

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

German alpine skier Anna Schaffelhuber, the star of the previous Winter Paralympics in Sochi four years ago when she won five golds, is making a return but faces the toughest competition from compatriot Anna-Lena Forster.

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