Winter paralympics open in Sochi

CNC
Added On March 8, 2014

Twelve days after the closing of the Sochi Winter Olympics, the 11th Winter Paralympic Games opened here on Friday night with a thrilling and inspiring ceremony.
 
The Ukrainian Paralympic Committee has confirmed their team will compete at the Sochi Paralympic Games.
 
It comes amid fears that the Ukrainian delegation might quit the Games over tension in their country.
 
President Vladimir Putin declared the Games open at the Fisht Olympic Stadium, following a speech by International Paralympic Committee (IPC) chief Philip Craven.
 
The two-hour show featured a cast of 2,500 volunteers and 140 disabled actors performing music, dances and songs under the theme of "breaking the ice."
 
Just a few hours ahead of the opening ceremony of Sochi Paralympics, Ukrainian Paralympic Committee President Valeriy Suskevich announced that their team will compete at the Sochi Paralympic Games.
 
In a response to Ukraine's decision, Philip Craven, said the committee was delighted by the announcement and that they liked to see sport to prevail.
 
Craven also praised Russian Organizers' constant efforts for the Winter Games, expressing his high expectations for the athletes' performances during the games.
 
The Sochi Paralympic Games are slated for March 7-16 with 72 medal events across five sports to be contested, namely alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing, ice sledge hockey and wheelchair curling.
 
Speaking at a press conference ahead of the opening ceremony on Friday,  Craven praised Russian Organizers’ constant efforts for the Winter Games, expressing his high expectations for the athletes' performances during the games.
 
SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH): PHILIP CRAVEN, President of IPC
 "I think back to London back to Vancouver, and I think back to Beijing. I think they always come through as quite different in some respect, but with regards to the quality and the excitement and everything, they have been absolutely equal."
 
Talking about the Paralympics' possible benefits for the disabled people, Craven said he believed it would change perceptions in people's minds. Not just  barrier-free environment, as he said, we need to go on and create barrier-free minds. 
 
Speaking at the the same press conference, President of the Sochi Organizing Committee Dmitry Chernyshenko said everything was ready for athletes to  take the center stage. 
 
SOUNDBITE (ENGLISH): DMITRY CHERNYSHENKO, Organizer
"The goal for us organisers is to stage the best Paralympic Winter Games ever, the Games for athletes to enjoy, to have fun, to perform to their best. Great venues are state-of-the-art, purpose-built to cater to the highest possible level in a barrier-free environment."
 
The Sochi Paralympic Games are slated for March 7-16 with 72 medal events across five sports to be contested, namely alpine skiing, biathlon, cross country skiing, ice sledge hockey and wheelchair curling.
 
By Thursday, 547 athletes from 45 countries and regions have confirmed their participation in the games, the International Paralympic Committee said.