March 11, 2014 / 1:47 PM / 6 years ago

Paralympics - Sochi exceeding all expectations, IPC chief says

REUTERS - The Sochi Paralympic Winter Games are on track to becoming the most successful ever, International Paralympic Committee President Phil Craven said on Tuesday.

Performers take part in the opening ceremony of the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, March 7, 2014. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

“The Games are exceeding all expectations in every single area,” the Briton said of the March 7-16 extravaganza.

“It was important that in Sochi we built on the success of London 2012 and, together with the organising committee, we are certainly doing that.”

More than 300,000 tickets have been sold for the event so far, eclipsing the previous Winter Paralympic record of 230,000 sold in Vancouver four years ago, the IPC said.

“To break the 300,000 barrier is sensational and I know the Organising Committee is working hard to try to create extra capacity to cater for the huge demand for tickets,” Craven said in a statement.

“The Russian crowds also deserve huge credit for making these Games a huge success. Their vocal support has inspired the athletes and, what has pleased me the most, is that their support has not just been for Russian athletes but for athletes from all 45 countries.

“It’s the Paralympic effect in action. No matter where the Games go, they have an ability to transform sports fans into sports fans for all, supporting all sides and all athletes.”

The organisers said they had raised $95 million from their marketing programme, a new record for a Paralympic Winter Games.

“Companies are realising the full value of a Paralympic partnership, whilst broadcasters are delighted at the sensational pictures provided by OBS (Olympic Broadcast Service)and the inspirational stories from athletes that they can provide their viewers with around the world.

“The Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games are on course to be the best and most successful ever.”

The Paralympics come hard on the heels of the February7-23 Sochi Winter Olympic Games for which Russia spent more than $50 billion on hosting and related infrastructure in the Black Sea resort.

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) is the global governing body of the Paralympic Movement. It organises Summer and Winter Paralympic Games, and serves as the International Federation for nine sports.

editing by Justin Palmer

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