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28 Feb 2014
IOC News

Countdown is on to the Sochi 2014 Winter Paralympic Games

With the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games completed, the countdown is now on to the beginning of the Winter Paralympic Games in the Russian resort on 7 March. The Sochi 2014 Paralympic Torch Relay began on Wednesday 26 February in Cape Dezhnev - the most eastern point of Russia – before visiting Vladivostok, Khabarovsk, Yakutsk, Magadan and Anadyr.

The Torch is set to visit 47 destinations on its 10-day journey across the host country, with approximately 15,000 torchbearers taking part before the flame arrives at the official Opening Ceremony in Sochi on 7 March.

The Games themselves will feature Paralympic athletes from more than 40 counties, who will compete in 72 events across five sports. It will be the first time that Russia has hosted the Paralympics and will see the debut of para-snowboarding as a Paralympic event.

The Games are also set to leave a lasting legacy, with Paralympic sport in Russia already enjoying a significant boost, with three times as many people with a disability involved in sport from 2006 to 2011.

Over 1,000 city infrastructure facilities in Sochi have also been newly recognised as fully accessible, with approximately 200 Russian cities also adopting Sochi's best practice example and creating a barrier-free environment that facilitates the adoption of an active lifestyle by people with a disability.

The Games have subsequently set new standards of city planning and construction, given all the sports venues and infrastructure were constructed to meet the requirements of people with a disability.

Sochi was the first city in the Russia to implement a programme to create an accessible environment that is convenient to all residents and guests. Everything that was created in Sochi for the Games, including transport, roads, sports venues and public infrastructure, was constructed taking all accessibility requirements into account.

The barrier-free environment that was created in Sochi for the Games will allow people with a disability to move more freely and independently around the city, use transport, visit attractions, places of work and study, leisure and recreation, as well as practice sports.

The innovative Accessibility Map project has made an invaluable contribution to this process. The Accessibility Map allows people with a disability to find places within walking distance where they can take part in Paralympic sports. The resource also provides information on nearby barrier-free facilities. At present, the Accessibility Map already lists more than 14,700 locations and is growing all the time.

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