By Tom Degun

Sochi 2014 Paralympics logoMarch 19 - Chefs de Mission and representatives of 36 National Paralympic Committees (NPCs) have arrived in Russia to receive an update on preparations for the Sochi 2014 Winter Paralympic Games.

The Games begin in less than one year's time and are set to be the biggest Winter Paralympics yet with around 700 athletes from 45 nations competing in 72 medal events across five sports.

As part of the build-up to the Games, the Sochi 2014 Organising Committee and International Paralympic Committee (IPC) are organising an event for Chefs de Mission to learn more about what they can expect upon arrival the event next year.

"Our preparations for the Games in less than a year continue at a fantastic pace," said Sochi 2014 President and chief executive Dmitry Chernyshenko.

"This important visit will give the Chefs de Missions an important opportunity to witness our progress to the most innovative Winter Games ever as we prepare to welcome hundreds of athletes and coaches to Sochi.

"The recent Paralympic test events have clearly demonstrated our ability to deliver major events.

"They have been an excellent opportunity for our volunteers to see competitive action as well as inspiring young Russians to try out different winter sports.

"The Chefs de Missions will witness how we are creating a true barrier-free environment in Sochi and beyond so that everyone will get a change to enjoy the Games."

At the start of the week, exactly 22 NPCs will take part in a half day Chef de Mission Workshop organised by the IPC Academy, the IPC education partner.

Dmitry Chernyshenko 2Sochi 2014 President and chief executive Dmitry Chernyshenko is excited about the Paralympic Chefs de Mission

The workshop aims to train and up-skill new and interested team leaders to give them an idea of their responsibilities ahead of next year's Games.

The workshop will cover various areas such as roles and responsibilities of Chefs de Mission, the qualification of athletes, entries, communications and travel.

Then the Chefs de Mission Seminar will take place, giving NPC representatives an opportunity to receive updates and valuable information on various areas from representatives of Sochi 2014 as well as from the IPC.

Areas to be covered amongst others include accommodation, accreditation, sport entries and ticketing.

Chefs de Mission will also take a tour of the venues that will be used for next year's Games.

"The week ahead is vitally important for all NPCs preparing to take part in next year's Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi," said IPC chief executive Xavier Gonzalez.

"I'm delighted that this will be the most well attended Chef de Mission event for a Winter Games which underlines the growth of the Paralympic Movement.

"Next year's Paralympics stand to feature three countries who will potentially make their Winter Games debuts in Sochi should they have athletes or teams who qualify.

"I wish Brazil, Turkey and Uzbekistan all the best with their final preparations."

The Sochi 2014 Winter Games are due to take place from March 7 until 16 with the five sports of alpine skiing, biathlon, cross country skiing, ice sledge hockey and wheelchair curling set to feature.

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