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China will have its sports and performing arts training centre for the disabled at the end of this year, said Deng Pufang, president of the China Disabled Persons' Federation yesterday.

"The establishment of the centre not only recognizes the remarkable achievements disabled people have fulfilled in sports and the performing arts, but also shows the country's support for gifted disabled people to excel despite their conditions," said Deng.

The 40,000-square-metre centre is estimated to cost 210 million yuan (US$25.4 million) and will be located in East China's Shanghai Municipality.

Eight separate gyms and stages are planned to provide swimming, basketball, volleyball, tennis, weight lifting, track and field, bridge, singing and dancing practice. All the facilities have been carefully designed to meet special needs.

The centre is the second to be built by the federation. The China Rehabilitation Research Centre in Beijing, built in 1988, is the first.

"The establishment of this new centre is part of our drive for a better spiritual life for disabled people along with an improved physical life," Deng said.

Glen Fairbourn, chairman of the United States-based CASI Foundation for Children donated US$5 million to the federation for the construction of the new Shanghai centre.

With assistance from the CASI Foundation, the federation sent a group of disabled artists on a good-will performance tour to United States in 2000.

"The American audience were impressed by the performance of the disabled Chinese artists," Fairbourn said.

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