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Head of Paralympics delegation happy with 'successful' competition

All Headlines 08:34 September 10, 2012

LONDON, Sept. 9 (Yonhap) -- After South Korea finished 12th at the 2012, Paralympic Games in London, which drew to a conclusion here Sunday, the country's chief delegate said he was happy with "successful" performances put on by the athletes.

Jang Choon-bae, who led the delegation of 135 athletes and officials, said it was noteworthy that South Korean performances were well balanced.

"We won medals from several different sports," Jang said. "Overall, this was a successful Paralympics."

South Korea collected nine gold medals and 27 medals overall from eight different sports. Shooters earned three gold medals, and swimmers had two. In all previous Paralympics, South Korea had managed just one swimming gold medal.

The country had set out to win at least 11 gold medals to finish at least in 13th place. The medal tally in London is South Korea's fewest at a Paralympics since 1984, when it managed four medals total.

Jang, however, took a glass-half-full approach.

"It was great to see Jeon Min-jae overcome her lack of size against Europeans and grab two silver medals in athletics," Jang said of the 35-year-old who ranked second in the women's 100 meters and 200 meters in her disability class. "That we won two swimming gold medals is also a major accomplishment.

Jang added he hoped the government would create a better environment for disabled athletes to compete in different sports.

"I think it's important to build conditions in which people with disabilities can participate in sports without difficulty," he said. "We should promote sports participation at schools and try to nurture more athletes."

Jang also said more veteran athletes should enter coaching ranks to teach younger athletes and "help usher in a new generation of Paralympians."

China finished first with 95 gold medals, 71 silver medals and 65 bronze medals, followed by Russia with 36 gold medals and Britain with 34 gold medals,

The London Games were the 14th Summer Paralympics. The first formal Paralympics was held in Rome in 1960. Since Seoul in 1988, the Paralympics have been held in the same host cities as the Olympics.

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