"I am delighted to see how the PyeongChang 2018 Organising Committee and the Agitos Foundation are finding new ways to develop winter Para sports."
More than 30 National Paralympic Committees (NPCs) received a special boost in their efforts to develop winter Para sports after receiving LISKI alpine skiing and snowboarding equipment during the 2017 World Para Alpine Skiing Championships on Monday (23 January).
The generous gesture is part of the ‘Actualising the Dream project’ developed by the Organising Committee for the 2018 Olympic & Paralympic Winter Games (POCOG) in partnership with the Agitos Foundation, the International Paralympic Committee’s development arm.
Following a series of successful workshops and training sessions held in 2016, the project took another step this year by equipping more than 30 nations with the necessary hardware to increase participation and knowledge on winter Para sports.
The nations receiving the equipment span across four regions, and have been participating in or organising World Para Alpine and World Para Snowboard sanctioned events; and have licensed athletes in the last two seasons: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, Iran, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Serbia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the USA and New Zealand.
Yongkwon Jang, POCOG Paralympic Games Integration Department Head, said: “POCOG contributed EUR 350,000 for the funding of five workshops and EUR 100,000 for the purchase of sports equipment according to the Memorandum of Understanding between POCOG and the Agitos Foundation.
“At a time when we have just one year and a month before the opening of the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games, when the attention of the world is being focused on PyeongChang, the project of providing sports equipment will contribute to helping the athletes with an impairment and fostering winter Para sports in countries where winter sports are less developed, which will match the vision of PyeongChang – opening up a New Horizons for winter sports.”
NPCs sent representatives to the Italian town where the World Alpine Skiing Championships are underway, to pick up the LISKI equipment.
In six months’ time, NPCs will report to World Para Alpine Skiing and the Agitos Foundation how they utilised and benefited from the equipment and their plans for organising alpine skiing and snowboarding races in the next two seasons.
IPC President Sir Philip Craven was in Tarvisio on Monday to give the equipment to respective NPC representatives, and said: “I am delighted to see how the PyeongChang 2018 Organising Committee and the Agitos Foundation are finding new ways to develop winter Para sports.
“Actualising the Dream is continuing to build on the legacy of the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games, and providing winter sport equipment to many nations can only help them build on what these nations are currently doing to increase winter sport participation.
“One of the main barriers to participation in winter Para sport growth is the cost of equipment. By gifting more than 30 nations with the necessary equipment needed, these nations have one less hump to get over in their development.”