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  • Para-Snowboard to debut at Sochi Paralympics


    The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has included Para-Snowboard events in the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games. Para-Snowboard will thus debut as part of the Paralympic program. The Sochi Paralympic Games will take place from the 7th to the 16th of March 2014. The participants will contest 72 medals. The last Paralympic Winter Games were held in Vancouver in 2010. The event featured 502 athletes from 44 countries who contested 64 medals.

    The IPC’s Director General Javier Gonzalez is sure that the new sport will add to a further development of the Paralympic Movement which cultivates important human values, such as courage, persistence, inspiration, and equality. Hundreds of athletes with disabilities all over the world do snowboarding as a sport. In the opinion of Javier Gonzalez, snowboarding will give the Paralympic Games a particular flavor and attract more audiences.

    Snowboard was included in the Winter Olympics program in 1998. Para-Snowboard is a new version adjusted to people with disabilities. It originated in Canada and the first Para-Snowboard Cup took place in Whistler, British Columbia, in March 2008. At present, it is adapted for standing and visually impaired athletes but in the future members of the IPC hope to involve wheelchair and mentally challenged athletes as well.

    Unlike ordinary sportsmen, Para-Snowboarders and other athletes with disabilities are divided into groups so that each group comprises people with different handicaps and they can compete on an equal basis. President of the Russian Paralympic Committee Vladimir Lukin comments.

    "Some Para-athletes are without legs or ankles, some have other disabilities. The extent of a disability is as important for the result of the competition as the skills. For this reason, disabled athletes are grouped according to certain criteria. There are different criteria within one group, and even if an athlete comes second or third, he may win the race which is great."

    Para-athletes are also classified according to the categories of disability: visually impaired or wheelchair athletes. For this reason, Para-sportsmen compete in five sports at the Winter Paralympics and in 15 sports at the Olympics but receive a large number of medals. In addition to Para-Snowboard, the Alpine Skiing program includes Downhill, Super G, Super Combined, Giant Slalom and Slalom events. Nordic Skiing will see a number of Biathlon and Cross Country events, and other medal events will take place in Ice Sledge Hockey and Wheelchair Curling.

    The criteria for participation in the Sochi Paralympics will be published by the International Paralympic Committee on May 28th 2012. A total of 174 National Paralympic Committees and four international sports organizations for the disabled that are part of the IPC are expected to take part in the event.

    Information supplied by the Voice of Russia


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