2008 Paralympics closes in Beijing

MOSCOW, September 17 (RIA Novosti) - The closing ceremony for the 2008 Paralympics Summer Games took place at the National Stadium in Beijing on Wednesday.

The Games, held between September 6 and 17, were broadcast in 75 countries.

The 13th Paralympics ended with the host country topping the overall medals standings as China grabbed 89 gold, 70 silver and 52 bronze medals. China also had the largest number of athletes at the Games, with 332 of its disabled sportsmen and sportswomen taking part.

Britain took second place with 42 gold, 29 silver and 31 bronze medals. The United States came in third (36-35-28).

The Russian team, which had set itself the target of making the top ten, finished the Paralympics in eighth place, having won 18 gold, 23 silver and 22 bronze medals. This is a great improvement for the Russians, who finished in 11th place at the 2004 Athens Paralympics with 16 gold, 8 silver and 17 bronze medals.

"We are returning home with pride. We looked a worthy team and we have accomplished everything we wanted to," said Vladimir Lukin, the head of the Russian Paralympics Committee.

This year, 145 Russian athletes took part in the Games, compared to 84 at the 2004 Athens Paralympics.

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