“Snowboard is fun and challenging sport with lot of potential for fast grow.”
PyeongChang 2018 is set to stage the biggest Paralympic Winter Games in history after news came through that eight medal events would be added to the programme.
The Governing Board of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) agreed on 80 medal events (up from 72) in their meeting in Tokyo, Japan, in early June. This announcement comes in as the No. 29 in the IPC’s Top 50 Moments of 2015.
With the programme’s expansion, up to 670 athletes are expected to compete.
This will be a 24 per cent increase on the 539 athletes who competed at Sochi 2014. It also includes a 44 per cent increase in the number of female athletes competing compared to last year’s event.
The athletes will compete in 80 medal events, with the medals programmes for alpine skiing, biathlon, cross country skiing, ice sledge hockey and wheelchair curling remaining unchanged from Sochi.
However, the wheelchair curling competition will be expanded from 10 to 12 mixed-gender teams.
“This now gives more athletes the opportunity to compete in what is the pinnacle event of the wheelchair curling calendar,” said Kate Caithness, President of World Curling Federation (WCF).
“This expansion is a reflection of the continued growth of this discipline around the world. The WCF has been working hard to develop wheelchair curling for many years now, both through our official competitions and various courses and clinics for athletes and their support staff. We’re pleased that this development has been recognised by the IPC and we look forward to working with them to make PyeongChang 2018 even better than what was a truly memorable Paralympics in Sochi last year.”
Having made its Paralympic debut in 2014 as part of the alpine skiing programme, snowboard will be a standalone sport in 2018 and will provisionally feature 10 medal events, eight more than it did in Sochi.
Snowboard has already seen growth following its debut in Sochi 2014. In October, the sport introduced Dutchman Martijn Oostdijk as its new race director and also launched its own website, Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Dimitrije Lazarovski, Head of IPC Snow Sports, said there is more to come and that PyeongChang 2018’s increased medal events raises the expectations for snowboard.
“We are already searching for greater development ahead of Beijing 2022,” said Dimitrije Lazarovski, Head of IPC Snow Sports.
“Working together with nations and introducing recently new race director Martijn Oostdijk, we hope that the rise of medal events in PyeongChang will encourage more nations to start developing snow sports in particular snowboard. Snowboard is fun and challenging sport with lot of potential for fast grow.”
The final approved programme is as follows:
Alpine skiing – 30 medal events (15 male, 15 female) and 130 male and 60 female athletes
Biathlon and cross country skiing – 38 medal events (18 male, 18 female, 2 mixed) and 100 male and 70 female athletes
Ice sledge hockey – 1 medal event and 136 male and 8 female athletes (teams have an option to include an additional female player in their roster of 17 players)
Snowboard – 10 medal events (6 male, 4 female) and 70 male and 36 female athletes
Wheelchair curling – 1 medal event and 48 male and 12 female athletes (each team must have a minimum of one female player).
To find out more about the IPC’s Top 50 Moments of 2015, visit the dedicated page on the IPC’s website.