Paralympic Winter Games
7-16 March

Three countries to make Winter Paralympic debuts

Six athletes will have the opportunity to represent their country for the first time on the Paralympic Winter Games at Sochi 2014. 06 Mar 2014
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Andre Cintra

Brazil's Andre Cintra finished in the top 15 at the 2013-14 IPCAS Snowboard World Cup in Big White, Canada.

ⒸNPC Brazil
By IPC

Turkey have won one gold medal at each of the last three summer Paralympics, but now they are ready to transfer their talents to the snow.

Brazil

The hosts of the 2016 Games will participate in the Winter Paralympics for the first time, with Andre Pereira competing in snowboard and Fernando Aranha taking part in cross-country skiing.

Pereira, a Sao Paulo native, is known for taking part in extreme sports such as kite surfing, wake boarding and paddle surfing, and he was the first to qualify for Sochi 2014. His right leg was amputated below the knee at age 17, and now, at 34, he trains in Lake Tahoe in the USA.

Aranha, who finished in the top 30 in three events at the 2013 IPC Nordic Skiing World Championships, has a goal of finishing in the top 15 at Sochi 2014, and he is also training to compete in para-triathlon at the Rio 2016 Paralympics.

His first encounter with para-sports was when he ran away from an orphanage at 16 to find a wheelchair basketball team. Since then, in addition to cross-country skiing and para-triathlon, he has competed in para-cycling.

Brazil have never won a medal at the Olympic or Paralympic Winter Games.

Turkey

Turkey have won one gold medal at each of the last three summer Paralympics, but now they are ready to transfer their talents to the snow.

In Sochi, they will be represented by alpine skiers Esat Bayindirli and Mehmet Cekic.

Bayindirli, a trained jeweler, finished in the top 20 in four of the different men’s sitting events at the 2013 IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships. These will not be his first Paralympics, though. He competed at the Torino 2006 Games for the USA, but missed the cut for the American team in 2010. Now, as the son of Turkish parents, he is ready to become Turkey’s first winter Paralympian.

Cekic is newer to the sport, having only been competing on the international stage since 2012. He trains with Ski Club Hohwald in France.

Uzbekistan

After competing for 20 years at the Summer Paralympics, Uzbekistan are sending their first team to the Winter Paralympics with alpine skiers Ramil Gayazov and Yevgeniy Slepov.

Gayazov is relatively new to the sport, having first competed internationally in 2012, while Slepov has been hitting the slopes since 2000, when he first began practicing in the French alps.

Uzbekistan has one just one Paralympic medal in the summer Games – a silver by judoka Sharif Khalilov at London 2012.