Paralympics ceremony hit by teen deaths - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Paralympics ceremony hit by teen deaths

28/09/2004 06:13:57 AM Comments (0)

Athens organisers have cancelled the festive segment of the Paralympics closing ceremony in mourning for seven teenagers killed in a bus accident on their way to the Games.

Tuesday's Paralympics closing ceremony was going to have a party atmosphere.

Instead, International Paralympic Committee President Phil Craven will make a speech, athletes will enter the stadium and the games' flag will be handed over to Beijing officials, who will organise the 2008 Olympics and Paralympics. Then the flame will be extinguished.

"The only part of the ceremony that will take place will be the completion protocol of the Games," Athens organisers said in an announcement.

A bus taking Greek high school students to watch the Paralympics crashed into a truck on Monday, killing seven teenage passengers, police said.

The crash occurred on a main highway connecting southern and northern Greece near the seaside town of Aghios Constantinos, 173 kilometres north of Athens.

Police said 26 injured teenagers, including at least one in critical condition, were taken to a hospital in the nearby city of Lamia.

Spectators with tickets can watch the scaled back ceremony at the stadium. Ticket refunds will be issued in the coming days.

IPC spokeswoman Miriam Wilkens said it was "a very sad day".

"School children have been big supporters of all Paralympic athletes and now it is time for us to offer our support to the friends and families of those involved in the accident," Wilkens said.

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