Pyeongchang Winter Paralympics open as biggest in history

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World opened its eyes to a vibrant Google Doodle on March 9 that of a squad of athletes competing in the six qualifying sports, ushering us to the opening of 2018 Winter Paralympics, held at PyeongChang, South Korea.

Andrew Parsons, president of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), said that despite this latest hiccup, the countries have pushed diplomacy forward.

Russian Federation remains suspended from the games due to the country's state-sponsored doping when it hosted the 2014 Sochi Games.

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

North Korea had wanted to use a version of the Korean peninsula flag that includes islands disputed with Japan. At the "Parade of Nations" flag-bearer of the Ukrainian team was the repeated champion and medalist of the Paralympic games in ski racing and biathlon Vitaly Lukyanenko.

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The background of the North's athletes suggests their presence is part of Pyongyang's political maneouvring - the pair, both students, only started skiing in December, having previously played disabled table tennis, according to Games organisers.

"Since our first formal agreement signed in 2000, the Paralympic Games and the movement as a whole has grown beyond all recognition", he said.

Some of the adapted sports have become hits with spectators, such as fast and furious para ice hockey where competitors slide around on double-bladed sledges. Three countries, including North Korea, Georgia and Tajikistan are making their debut this time.

21-year-old alpine skier Momoka Muraoka led the Japanese delegation at the opening ceremony. Cnossen is a former Navy Seal who lost both legs in an explosion in Afghanistan.

Unlike at last month's Olympics, where North and South Korean athletes walked under one united flag, the two countries could not strike a similar arrangement for the Paralympics opening ceremony. Athletes from the two Koreas marched together at the opening ceremony and Kim Jong Un's sister attended the event.

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