- The Paralympic Order is the highest level of recognition anyone associated with the Paralympic Movement can achieve.
The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) recognised the outstanding service of three individuals on Thursday (28 September) by presenting them with the Paralympic Order at the 2023 IPC General Assembly in Manama, Bahrain. The Paralympic Order is the highest accolade anyone associated with the Paralympic Movement can achieve and the three recipients in 2023 are: - David Hadfield OBE – former President of World Boccia - Jin-owan Jung – President of the Korean Paralympic Committee - Jorge Ochoa – former President of NPC El Salvador Andrew Parsons, IPC President said: “There is no greater honour as IPC President than to recognise individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the Paralympic Movement with the Paralympic Order. “In just over one decade, David Hadfield spearheaded the transformation of boccia from a small sport within CPISRA to a thriving independent federation and one of the fastest growing Paralympic sports. The evolution of World Boccia thanks to David’s efforts has been nothing short of remarkable. “Jin-owan Jung helped build the Paralympic Movement in Korea from the ground up. Ensuring everything is athlete centred, he has ensured that Korean Para athletes benefit from some of the best training facilities and systems in world sport. He has also used his skills and expertise to benefit NPCs and Para athletes outside of Korea, helping to grow the Paralympic Movement internationally. “Jorge Ochoa has dedicated more than two thirds of his life to the Paralympic Movement, firmly establishing Para sport in El Salvador. Thanks to his efforts, the country has a National Paralympic Committee, and a growing talent pool of athletes capable of medal success at the very highest levels of Paralympic sport. “All three individuals are worthy recipients of the Paralympic Order in 2023.” ABOUT DAVID HADFIELD David’s vision, strategic leadership and sheer determination took the relatively small sport of boccia from within CPISRA and transformed it into a new and thriving international sport federation, which is now widely respected throughout the Paralympic Movement. David’s involvement with boccia started in 2009 and he soon saw the need to create a standalone International Sports Federation to further grow the sport. Together with a team of like-minded individuals, he skilfully negotiated the separation of boccia away from CPISRA and engaged multiple international stakeholders in the new federation which was created in September 2012. With David as its founding President until March 2023, World Boccia has grown year-on-year in terms of its membership, elite athlete base, international competition programme, and player pathways which support emerging athletes and developing countries. Today, World Boccia’s membership spans 73 countries and as an International Federation it is seen as modern, progressive with ethics at its core. On receiving the Paralympic Order, David said: “I was very surprised, but feel greatly honoured, to have been awarded the Paralympic Order. It is a wonderful recognition of the hard work of so many dedicated people, all volunteers, who have helped make Boccia the fastest growing and one of the most exciting Paralympic sports. “We are deeply grateful to the IPC for their support over last 12 years during which we have established a strong international governing body which will ensure the continued growth of Boccia as ‘THE sport for everyone.” ABOUT JIN-OWAN JUNG Having competed for 15 years as a Paralympic athlete, winning gold at the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games, Jin-owan Jung has dedicated the last 17 years to growing the Paralympic Movement both domestically and internationally. In Korea, from media interviews to single person protests, collective action to stunning administrative efforts, he has done everything possible to deliver the best training facilities, provide stable funding for national athletes, and ensure equal treatment of Olympians and Paralympians. Thanks to his actions Korea now boasts one of the world’s most advanced Paralympic Training Centres which will soon be complemented by 150 Bandabi Sport Centre built nationwide as a PyeongChang 2018 legacy. Internationally, through various NPC programmes such as Youth Para Sport Camps and Actualising the Dream, thousands of youngsters from countries spanning all five continents have benefitted from the opportunity to try Paralympic sport and pursue their dreams of becoming a Paralympian. He has also played a pivotal role in Korea staging many major international events and promoting peace through Para sports, providing support for delegations from North Korea for several major events over the last 15 years. Jin-owan Jung, President of the Korean Paralympic Committee said: “I think I received this highest recognition thanks to the remarkable development of Para sports in Korea. “I would like to share this honour with the Korean Paralympic Committee (KPC) employees who have been doing their job with all their passion. “KPC will continue to work with the IPC and various NPCs to promote Paralympic movement around the world.” ABOUT JORGE OCHOA Jorge has been the driving force behind the Para sport in El Salvador for nearly 50 years. During this time, he has worked for government departments focussed on rehabilitation and adapted sport, created and led his country’s first Para sport association and established and presided over NPC El Salvador. As NPC President between 2010 and 2022, Jorge strengthened ties with the IPC in order to develop the organisational capacity and sport expertise of NPC El Salvador. Programmes such Escuela Paralímpica Deportiva (Paralympic Sport School), and Paralympic Festivals in several cities around the country have done much to engage youngsters with a disability in Para sport. Jorge also led El Salvador’s participation in the ground-breaking “On your marks, set…Inclusion”, project with the IPC to further their organisational capacity, communication and sport technical expertise. As a result of these development activities, NPC El Salvador won its first ever medal at the 2019 Parapan American Games and followed this up with a first Paralympic medal – a powerlifting bronze – at Tokyo 2020. In 2021, he was elected to the Americas Paralympic Committee Governing Board, representing the Central American sub-region. Jorge Ochoa, former President of NPC El Salvador, said: “When I received the announcement that I was awarded the Paralympic Order, I was so moved and happy. “I never thought I would receive an acknowledgement of the work I did in El Salvador for persons with disabilities. Getting to know the IPC back in 1999 in the Mexico Parapan American Games opened a whole new world for me. I learned so much through the years and with the support of the IPC, I took every opportunity to grow the Paralympic Movement even further, securing access to sports for children with disabilities. “Thank you to all for this honour, but really thanks to the IPC for helping me achieve all of what brought me here to receive this recognition.” In addition to David Hadfield, Jin-owan Jung and Jorge Ochoa receiving the Paralympic Order in Manama, the IPC President also presented the Paralympic Order in person to Rising Phoenix brainchild Greg Nugent and former IPC Governing Board members Rita van Driel and Yasushi Yamawaki. The three had been announced as Paralympic Order recipients at the 2021 IPC General Assembly but were unable to receive their accolades in person as the event was online due to the pandemic.