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INTERNATIONAL PARALYMPIC COMMITTEE

Snowboard to debut at Sochi test event

As the newest addition to the Paralympic programme, snowboard will be the first snow sport to be tested in Sochi. 05 Mar 2013
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Bibian Mentel-Spee

Netherland's Bibian Mentel-Spee is one of the favorite for the first para-snowboard test event in Sochi, Russia.

ⒸBibian Mentel-Spee
By IPC

“I have worked extremely hard over the past few years to get to where I am now. Being at the Games and standing on the podium would be the pinnacle of my snowboarding career.”

Twenty-five snowboarders from 11 countries are set to take part in the Snowboard Cross Paralympic Test Event in Sochi, Russia on Wednesday (6 March).

Athletes from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Russia, Slovakia, Ukraine and USA are eager to test the sport which will make its Paralympic debut at the 2014 Games.

The event will take place just one year and one day before the Paralympic Winter Games open at the Extreme Park in Rosa Khotor – not far from the Paralympic venue.

The competition includes athletes with upper and lower limb impairments, although only athletes from the latter group will compete at the Paralympic Games.

In the men's lower-limb impairment class, USA's world champion Evan Strong will likely find his toughest opponent in New Zealand's Carl Murphy.

Murphy, who was born without a lower limb, has had a strong start to the season, claiming two golds at the IPCAS race in the Netherlands in November. He also took silver behind Strong at the Para-Snowboard World Championships last season.

For Murphy, the chance to compete at a Paralympic Games is something he's been dreaming of for years.

“Competing at the 2014 Games will mean everything to me,” said the New Zealander. “To represent my country at the highest level is such an honour that only a few people get the chance to do.

“I have worked extremely hard over the past few years to get to where I am now. Being at the Games and standing on the podium would be the pinnacle of my snowboarding career.”

Bibian Mentel of the Netherlands is the strong favourite in the women's lower-limb impairment group, with her closest rival likely to be USA's Amy Purdy.

“Amy Purdy is probably going to be very fast, and the two Dutch girls are doing really well as well,” Mental said.

“I just came here two days ago and it's just amazing to see what they have built especially when you think about two years ago there was nothing here. It's amazing to see how the resort is developing.

“It's really great to be in Sochi – I'm just stoked to be here. We were out training this morning and it was awesome. It was nice new snow. And the course was really nice and fluid and you could really ride it well.”

Italy are the only country to field athletes in the upper-limb impairment class, with Sara Dorigattti in the women's event and Roberto Cavicchi and David Preziosi in the men's event.

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