Haidi Zhang Manifesto for International Paralympic Committee Presidency

30 years leading para sport, a lifetime of impairment and 85 million lives improved – now IPC’s only female presidential candidate vows to ‘inspire everyone, everywhere’

Mm. Haidi Zhang – the only woman campaigning to lead the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) – has launched her candidature with a resilience and determination to grow the Paralympic Movement in "every corner of the globe".

"As a Chinese woman living with an impairment, I share the hope, fear and pain of my fellow men and women living in this condition," Mm. Zhang said.

"And as the leader of China’s national Paralympic Movement, I have helped transform the life chances of my country-people.

"And today, China’s Paralympic team leads the world."

The former 10-metre wheelchair air pistol shooter, who is Executive President of the Beijing 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Organising Committee, was involved in the 2008 Beijing Games and led China’s delegations to the London, Sochi and Rio Paralympic Games, praises the legacy of out-going IPC president Sir Philip Craven and sees this as the basis for the Movement to now to strive for new goals and higher achievement.

"We have laid solid foundations," Mm. Zhang said.

"But the challenge has just begun. It will not be complete until all those living with impairment enjoy access to better lives through sport. I am uniquely equipped to lead this challenge.

"My candidature is about building on those foundations by tackling the next big challenge –extending the reach of the Movement. My promise now, as candidate to lead the IPC, is to take the life-changing possibilities of para-sport to every corner of every continent.

"I have integrity and strength. I believe that the IPC president should be of such quality, and should demonstrate outstanding leadership and proven ability to manage financial and human resources."

Mm. Zhang has been paralyzed since the age of five and is a household name in her native China – the result of 30 years spent leading her National Paralympic Committee, chairing the China Foundation for Disabled Persons...and delivering huge success: "I have worked to improve the lives of the 85 million Chinese with impairments," she said, and more than 8.5 million of those people now participate in sport.

"Under my leadership, we have introduced $25 billion of care and support programmes, developed major international cooperation projects and opened rehabilitation institutions in all Chinese provinces and municipalities. We will shortly begin work to develop a China Rehabilitation University."

The Paralympic Movement can, Mm. Zhang believes, strive to continually advance the opportunities for inclusion for disabled people. She is calling for even more participation and will increase the influence of women in sport through the IPC Women in Sport committee.

When Mm. Zhang was paralyzed as a young girl, she vowed to make the very best of her life – every day. She later qualified as a doctor and is also a writer and translator – experiences, she says, "which teach much about the value of perseverance, that even the sternest challenges can be overcome with courage and hard work", adding:

"It is these values that I wish now to bring to the Presidency of the International Paralympic Committee."

Mm. Zhang will stand for election to the IPC Governing Board on September 8 at the IPC General Assembly in Abu Dhabi, UAE, and is basing her campaign on pledges, among other things: to expand the influence of the Paralympic Games; to build a prosperous Paralympic Family; and to foster a more inclusive international community.

"I have what it takes to lead the IPC. My goal is to give the Paralympic Movement new reach and new impact: to inspire everyone everywhere," she said.

25 Years at #1: Your best source of news about the Olympics is www.aroundtherings.com, for subscribers only