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Putin thanks Russian Paralympians for spirit brought to Paralympics

March 17, 2014, 18:06 UTC+3 SOCHI
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SOCHI, March 17. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin thanked Russian Paralympic athletes for their spirit brought to the Winter Paralympic Games in the Russian Black Sea resort city of Sochi on Monday.

“You are just heroes, heroes of sport,” the president said at a medal-awarding ceremony. “Great thanks for your spirit that you instilled in millions of people who are prepared like you not only to go in for physical culture and sport, but also attain highest successes in life. You showed them to us,” the country’s leader noted.

For their part, Paralympian athletes thanked sport and state officials, coaches, specialists and medical personnel for their opportunity to show themselves.

“Each medal personally for us is rising above ourselves and competition with ourselves. And common victory is a merit of all Russia. This is why we performed so well. We could not let anyone down,” biathlete Alena Kaufman noted.

Medalist of Alpine skiing races Inga Medvedeva also noted, “We had one task to perform worthily, at full strength and at one hundred percent.” “We performed the task. I hope that we will train and perform in the same spirit. Great thanks for a high-level Alpine ski course which you have done for us. I hope that similar ski courses will be also built in other regions,” Medvedeva noted.

Curler Marat Romanov also said words of gratitude for new sport opportunities. “From the team and me personally I would like to say words of gratitude to the Sport Ministry, the Paralympic Committee for construction of such a unique arena as Ice Cube,” he noted. In the view of the athlete, this will permit to conduct not only qualitative training, but also invite foreign teams for international competitions. “We will invite foreign teams to share experience and acquire their experience. But this will allow them to make sure that bears are not going in the streets in Russia and just quite nice people are walking,” the curler added.

Sledge hockey player Vasily Varlakov said words of gratitude to all fans. “I would like to thank all fans that they supported us in loss and win, believed in us to the very end,” the Paralympic athlete said. “I would like to convey greetings to children from an orphanage that sent letters and posters to us. Thank you for support. This led us forward, to victory,” he noted.

All athletes noted that the Winter Paralympic Games that Russia hosted turned out to be not just most medal-bearing for Russia for the whole victory of the Paralympics, but also most hospitable ones. Skier Irek Zaripov has voiced the common opinion. “For me this is already the third Paralympic Games. But such perfect and bright Games will certainly stay in my memory for all my life,” he admitted. “Great thanks for these worthy Games. Our team performed at high and bright level, though there were very strong rivals, but we have prepared honorably,” he added.

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