The Paralympics are intended to be a parallel event to the Olympics. That is how they got their name. But they are usually overshadowed by the bigger and better-known Games that precede them. This is a shame, because the fiercely competitive event for athletes with impairments is just as important. The Beijing Winter Paralympics concluded last weekend after more than a week of action. They were a success, even though they had to contend with extraordinary global events. China led the medal table with 61, including 18 golds. This was a big achievement considering China only made its debut in the 2002 event and won its first medal four years ago. This is due to the high levels of funding and other support devoted by China, as well as the impressive achievements of its athletes. It is to be hoped this success will raise awareness of the challenges faced by disabled people in China. The country’s high medal tally was, in part, also due to the absence of Russia which, along with Belarus, was banned from competing as a result of its invasion of Ukraine. The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) had hoped to allow the two nations to participate as neutrals, but sensibly abandoned that idea when it faced a boycott from other athletes amid tensions in their village. Sport and politics are generally best kept apart. But it was inevitable the Paralympics would be affected by the war given its global impact. There was an uplifting performance by athletes from Ukraine. They had endured a traumatic trip to Beijing while their country was under attack and went on to come second in the medal table. China tops Winter Paralympics medal table, now a Games powerhouse Ukraine’s team members also took the opportunity to promote peace at the Games, with an emotional moment of silence in the athletes’ village. They stood before a banner calling for “peace for all”. This sentiment was also expressed by IPC president Andrew Parsons, who described competing athletes as beacons of hope and champions of peace. The Beijing Winter Olympics and Paralympics took place in challenging times. They have provided welcome relief from the world’s troubles. The achievements of the athletes are an inspiration to us all.