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22 Aug, 2009 10:37

Preparations for first Paralympics in Russia in full swing

As well as the Winter Olympics in 2014, Sochi will slso play host to the Paralympic games – a first for Russia. An exhibition in Moscow showed that preparations for the event are well underway.

'Equal Chances Sport’ is a masterclass event aimed at boosting the profile of athletes with disabilities.

For some, however, the Paralympics is already a very exciting tournament.

“For me there is no difference between the Olympics and Paralympics. These are absolutely equal events,” says sports commentator Dmitry Guberniev.

“I've been working at each of them, and it was great fun on every occasion. Plus unlike our Olympic team, our paralympians usually top the medal table.”

More than 700 paralympians will compete in five disciplines at Sochi in 2014. It's the first time Russia will welcome so many disabled athletes, and for a country which can't boast a rich infrastructure in this sphere, the responsibility is huge.

In light of the event the government has promised its full support.

”All new sports facilities in Russia are built with consideration for disabled people,” says Svetlana Zhurova, Olympic Champion in speed skating, member of State Duma.

Russian paralympians have been enjoying a great deal of attention from the ministry for sport since 2002. The country is favourite in the winter games and is usually among the top teams at the summer Paralympics. They also hope to perform well at Sochi 2014.