The President of the International Paralympic Committee Sir Philip Craven recently paid a visit to Sochi, Russia to inspect the city’s sports venues and infrastructure. This visit comes shortly after Russia’s ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Fortunately for Sochi Organizers, Sir Philip reported back that he was extremely impressed by the scale of the barrier-free environments currently under construction in Sochi. The organizers and the city’s authorities are acting on their commitment to ensure all sports venues are accessible to individuals with physical disabilities.
In all, 1,800 venues will require access for disabled attendees of the 2014 Winter Games. At this time, nearly 1/3 of the sites throughout Sochi are fully accessible, putting the city on the fast track to becoming a shining example throughout Russia.
The visit began with a meeting between Sir Philip and Sochi’s Mayor, Anatoly Pakhomov. The meet was followed by an inspection tour of the city, to allow the President of the IPC to assess the city’s infrastructure in terms of accessibility for the impaired.
While inspecting the Paralympics venues in the Coastal Cluster, located in the Imeretinskaya Valley, Sir Philip Craven, remarked, “I’m really impressed with the preparations for the Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi – much of the barrier-free city environment already matches up to the IPC’s high global standards. All the venues have acquired their shape and their infrastructure is fully adapted for people with impairments. And it’s a milestone in terms of staging the most innovative Paralympic Games ever, which I’m looking forward to.”
It’s exciting to hear that preparations are already so far along for the games, which are nearly two years away still. The Winter Games kick off on February 7, 2014 while the Paralympic Games follow a month later on March 7, 2014.
“We were delighted to welcome Sir Philip Craven to Sochi to show him the strong progress that has been made to prepare the venues and the city for the Paralympic Winter Games,” said Dmitry Chernyshenko, President of the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee. “The Games are already helping to transform Sochi into a barrier-free city and we hope that it can become a model for other Russian cities in the future. One of the many benefits the Games will bring is the opportunity it offers to change perceptions across Russia about people with impairments. That is why we have worked so hard to establish a wide-ranging education program to promote their full inclusion in society.”