November 12 - South Africa and Mongolia will make their debuts when the 2013 International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Alpine Skiing World Championships open in La Molina, Spain, in 100 days time, it has been announced.
Around 150 skiers representing 40 countries are set to compete in La Molina - which is located in the Pyrenees - from February 20 until 27 in what will be the last major international event before Sochi 2014.
"This is the first time a Mongolian athlete has taken part in a major international alpine skiing competition," said Sylvana Mestre, the chairperson of the Sport Technical Committee for IPC Alpine Skiing,
"It is vital for the growth of the sport that we continue to cast the net wide and get more countries taking part.
"The challenge for the development of the sport is not just getting more countries involved, however.
"We need countries to develop athletes covering all impairment groups and importantly we need more women competing.
"At grassroots level there are plenty of women taking part in the sport, yet not many compete at the top level.
"It is important that we look to change this trend over the coming years."
This will be the first time the ski resort in northeast Spain has held an IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships, although it hosted a FISA World Cup alpine race four years ago.
"Since 2003 La Molina has invested a lot of resources into staging alpine skiing events for athletes with an impairment," said Mestre.
"They started hosting national races followed by national championships and have gradually built from there.
"Within a number of years they were staging IPC Alpine Skiing Europa and World Cup events and we were delighted when they said they wanted to host our World Championships in 2013.
"La Molina will provide the perfect setting for what is a championships with extra significance in 2013.
"The last major championships before any Paralympic Games is always important and spectators will see the world's best skiers all determined to win a medal and secure a podium spot ahead of Sochi.
"It will be spectacular."
For more details on the Championships click here.
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