“The next 10 months, starting with this event in Aleksin and climaxing with next March’s Paralympic Winter Games, are extremely important for the growth of the Paralympic Movement in Russia."
The 2013 IPC Powerlifting Open European Championships are being held in Aleksin, Russia less than a year after the London 2012 Games and under a year prior to the nation hosting the Sochi 2014 Winter Games.
Therefore, IPC Chief Executive Officer Xavier Gonzalez stressed the importance of the event as a small stepping stone to help build the Paralympic Movement within Russia in the lead-up to both next year’s Winter Games as well and Rio 2016.
“The next 10 months, starting with this event in Aleksin and climaxing with next March’s Paralympic Winter Games, are extremely important for the growth of the Paralympic Movement in Russia,” Gonzalez said.
“This country must build on the momentum generated last year when it finished second in the London 2012 medals table.”
“The performances of athletes in Aleksin and in Sochi have the ability to change perceptions and attitudes of people with an impairment. This, combined with the Russian government’s work to create barrier-free environments and get more people with an impairment active and into sport, can help change Russian society forever.”
Russian powerlifter Oleysa Lafina, who set a new world record en route to winning gold in the women’s -50kg on Thursday (23 May), echoed those sentiments following her victory.
“It’s been a great competition thus far,” Lafina said. “These Championships will be a small window to show Russia what IPC Powerlifting is all about as well as to expose them to the rest of the para-sport world in this part of the country.”
The 2013 IPC Powerlifting Open European Championships run from 22-26 May, and the entire competition is being streamed live online.
IPC Powerlifting also hopes to raise awareness for the sport in Asia later this year when Gwangju, Korea hosts the IPC Powerlifting Asian Championships from 9-13 July and Kuala Lumpur hosts the Malaysia Open Powerlifting Championships from 3-7 November.