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MOSCOW, March 06, 0:36 /ITAR-TASS/. Some 2.5 million people of disabilities will be able to do sports in Russia by 2020, or five times as many as today, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview with Russian and foreign media on the eve of the Paralympic Games in Russia’s Black Sea resport city of Sochi.
“The key mission of the Paralympic movement is to encourage interest to sport and help integrate people with disabilities into the life of society,” he said. “I am confident that the Paralympic Games in Sochi will make a worthy contribution to the implementation of these tasks, will help attract more people suffering from various diseases to sports and regular physical exercises. These Games are geared to help them build up confidence in themselves, in their strength and talents. Achievements of Paralympic athletes, their will are the best example of how people with disabilities can live a proactive life and achieve success.”
The Russian president however admitted that “much is yet to be done” in Russia to ensure accessibility of sports facilities for disabled persons. He pledged that the state would continue its efforts “to create specialized multifunctional sports facilities, to enhance professional skills of instructors in adaptive physical education so that people with limited abilities could enjoy equal possibilities for doing sports.”
Putin noted that thanks to the state programmes The Development of Physical Culture and Sports and Wheelchair-friendly Environment the numbers of people with disabilities who did sports in Russia more than doubled in the past three years to exceed 500,000. “We put a task to create conditions to make it possible for at least 2.5 million people with limited abilities to do sports regularly by the year 2020,” he stressed.
“In order to popularize physical culture and sports among teenagers with disabilities, nationwide Spartakiad games in sports disciplines that are included in the programme of Paralympic and SurdOlympic Games are regularly held in Russia,” Putin noted. As many as 1,257 athletes from 56 Russian regions took part in such games in summer sports in 2011, and 475 athletes from 38 Russian regions took part in winter games in 2013. The next summer Spartakiad games will be held in 2015.