IPC announces its Sochi 2014 Paralympic torchbearers

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March 2, 2014 (ISN) – The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has announced the names of 34 torchbearers who will represent the Paralympic Movement’s global governing body in the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games Torch Relay on 6 and 7 March.

The names include IPC President Sir Philip Craven and Wilfried Lemke, the Special Adviser to the UN Secretary General on Sport for Development and Peace.

The 10-day long Sochi 2014 Paralympic Torch Relay started on 26 February and, by the time of the Opening Ceremony, will have passed through 46 cities in each different Russian region and involved 1,500 torchbearers.

On 5 March, the eighth day of the relay, the Paralympic Flame will be created at a special uniting ceremony before the Torch Relay embarks on a final 48 hours around the host city.

Representing the IPC Governing Board in the Torch Relay will be President Sir Philip Craven, Vice President Andrew Parsons and Members at Large Duane Kale, Patrick Jarvis, Kyung-Won Na, John Petersson and Chairperson of the IPC Athletes’ Council, Todd Nicholson. IPC Life President Bob Steadward will also be involved as will the UN’s Lemke.

Future Paralympic Games organising committees will also be represented in the relay by:

– Rio 2016 – Mariana Viera de Mello, Head of Paralympic Integration

– PyeongChang 2018 – Vo Ra Mi Seo, South Korean cross-country skier who will be competing in Sochi

– PyeongChang 2018 – Hak Sung Kim, skip of the Korean silver medal winning wheelchair curling team at the 2008 World Championships and 2010 Paralympic Winter Games.

– Tokyo 2020 – Mami Sato, Japanese Paralympian who was part of Tokyo 2020’s bid presentation team last September in Buenos Aires.

Hak Sung Kim, the skip of Korea’s Paralympic silver medal wheelchair curling team from Vancouver, said: “It is a great honour to participate in the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Torch Relay on behalf of PyeongChang, host city of the next edition of the Paralympic Winter Games.

In addition, I’m really pleased that this participation gives me the opportunity to represent the pride of people with an impairment in the Republic of Korea, and also gives inspiration for the successful hosting of the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games.

Vo Ra Mi Seo said: “PyeongChang is the region which has really special meaning for me because it is my father’s hometown. I’m so happy and honoured to participate in the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Torch Relay on behalf of PyeongChang.

“I have been through a really tough time after I had an unexpected accident in 2004 and became bound to a wheelchair, but fortunately I set a goal to win the gold medal in the Paralympics as a cross-country skier.

“Since then, I have tried really hard to realise my dream. I will strive to give hope to disabled people by participating not only Sochi 2014 Paralympics but also PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games.”

Mami Sato said: “I am delighted and extremely humbled to have been selected to represent Tokyo 2020 as a Paralympic torchbearer. It is my earnest wish that my participation will further raise the profile of the Sochi Paralympic Winter Games in Japan and contribute to the development of the Paralympic Movement in Rio 2016, PyeongChang 2018, Tokyo 2020 and beyond.

“I sincerely hope that the athletes will perform to the peak of their abilities in Sochi and amply display the Paralympic values of determination, courage, equality and inspiration to audiences around the world.”

Four officials, one representing each of the Paralympic winter sports, will also be involved in the relay. They are:

– Nick Dean – Vice Chairperson of the IPC Alpine Skiing Sport Technical Committee

– Hans Peter Neeser – IPC Nordic Skiing Head of Technical Control and Officiating

– Michael Peterson – IPC Ice Sledge Hockey Head of Classification

– Kate Caithness – President, World Curling Federation

On 1 March, the first ever international leg of a Paralympic Torch Relay took place in Stoke Mandeville, Great Britain, in recognition of the town as the spiritual birthplace of the Paralympic Movement. For all future editions of the Games, Stoke Mandeville and Great Britain will host a leg of the Paralympic Torch Relay and as a result they will be represented in Sochi by four torchbearers, led by British Paralympic Association President Tim Reddish.

The final IPC places in the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Torch Relay have been awarded to IPC Worldwide Paralympic and International Partners, as well as supporters of the Agitos Foundation, including IPC Honorary Board member Hassan Ali Bin Ali.

The Sochi 2014 Paralympic torch was developed by a team of famous Russian designers and engineers. The torch weighs about 1.8 kg and has a length of 95 cm, is blue and has a base that is light “metallic” silver. The concept of the urban Sochi 2014 Paralympic Torch Cauldron resonates with the concept of the torch and is implemented in an identical style. The height and width of the cauldrons are 130cm and 60cm, respectively. The foundation is 110cm. These cauldrons will be installed in all the cities along the route of the Sochi 2014 Relay.

The Relay will conclude at the Opening Ceremony of the Paralympic Games at the Fisht Olympic Stadium on 7 March.

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