Snowboarding will make its Paralympic debut at the Sochi 2014 Winter Games, following an announcement on Wednesday by the International Paralympic Committee.
Two medal events have been introduced into the Paralympic program in a move welcomed by the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC).
“We are really delighted that snowboarding has been included into the program for Sochi 2014. It brings the Paralympic Winter Games into an exciting new era,” APC Chief Executive Officer Jason Hellwig said.
“We know there are large numbers of people with a disability in Australia participating in Para-snowboarding and that the sport continues to grow rapidly in popularity.
“The challenge now ahead of the APC is to not only increase participation at the grass roots level, but establish a high performance program in time to produce world class athletes who are ready to push for success in Sochi.
“This will be no easy task, and we will be relying on support from our key partners.
“But it is a challenge I am confident we can meet, and our work has already well and truly begun.”
Australia has participated at every Paralympic Winter Games since the first Games in 1976, winning a total of 28 medals including 11 gold. At the previous Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver in 2010, Australia won four medals (one silver, three bronze) including a bronze in the vision-impaired Slalom to Jessica Gallagher, who became the first Australian woman to win a Paralympic Winter medal.
Para-snowboarding’s inclusion into the Paralympic Winter Games brings to 72 the number of medal events at Sochi 2014.