Two Paralympic snowboard events have been announced as part of the schedule for the 2014 Sochi Winter Paralympics in Russia.
The specifics of the events have yet to be disclosed, but adding snowboarding to the bill is already building up some positive support and is bound to increase interest in the 2014 games.
World Snowboard Federation President, Gunnar Tveit, said: "The WSF are thrilled by the decision to include Para-snowboard in the Paralympic programme of the Sochi 2014 Winter Games. Together with the IPC, the WSF National Snowboard Associations and riders, we have been working towards this goal for the last six years."
Back in February, Orcières 1850 in France hosted a two day World Championships where 40 para-snowboarders from 10 different countries competed. The success of the tournament have may influenced the inclusion for the forthcoming Winter Paralympics, but either way, the sports inclusion is bound to be a huge plus.
The IPC's Chief Executive Officer, Xavier Gonzalez, said: "Snowboarding is a fast paced and extremely exciting sport and we are delighted that it will form part of the program at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games... I would like to thank Sochi 2014, NPC Russia , Russian Government, the World Snowboard Federation and the IPC Athletes' Council for all supporting the inclusion of these two extra medal events."
Support from within the Sochi 2014 committee appears to be as strong as that from within the IPC and the snowboarding community. Dmitry Chernyshenko, President of the Sochi 2014 Organising Committee, added: "Snowboarding is a young and exciting sport and one which is attracting new audiences and participants everywhere... Its inclusion in the Paralympics programme will give a further boost to the promotion of Paralympic sports across Russia and highlights the opportunities that sport provides to everyone. It also reflects our determination to deliver the most innovative and successful Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in history.
Knowing that the riders will have the chance to compete in the sport they love in 2014 is rewarding not only because the athletes will be recognised for their hard work but also because the inclusion of Para-snowboard in the Sochi Winter Games will provide an unprecedented level of exposure to the sport."
If the World Championships held this winter are anything to go by, we could be in for some fast paced boarder cross as one of the disciplines included in the games. I have to say, anyone who participates in boarder cross, able bodied or not, deserves recognition, and its inclusion in the Paralympic Winter Games will surely be a massive hit.
Written by Stephen Adam