By David Gold

97701456May 31 - The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has today published the Qualification Guide for Sochi 2014.

A total of 72 medal events across five sports will take place in Sochi from March 7 to 16, 2014, making it the biggest Winter Paralympics in history.

IPC chief executive Xavier Gonzalez said: "The publication of the Qualification Guide is another step along the exciting journey to the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.

"The aim of the guide is to provide National Paralympic Committees (NPCs) with a comprehensive document that outlines the qualification systems necessary to be met for athletes and teams seeking to compete in Sochi."

There will be 32 alpine skiing medal events at Sochi 2014, including two in Para-snowboard, which was added to the Paralympic programme earlier this month.

The top 32 men and 16 women in the para-snowboard rankings as of February 17, 2014, will be eligible for Sochi 2014.

NPCs can enter 10 athletes per discipline per gender at most, but with no more than five per medal event.

Vancouver Paralympics_May_31
A total of 202 male and 96 female athletes can compete in alpine events.

In biathlon and cross country skiing there will be 38 events, split evenly between the genders, but with two mixed competitions.

NPCs can enter eight athletes per race and gender in the discipline, and a maximum of three per medal event.

The quotas for biathlon and cross country events are 120 male athletes and 80 female athletes.

The IPC also released details of how many points downhill, super G, super combined, biathlon and cross country athletes must have to qualify.

In ice sledge hockey there will be eight teams vying for medals.

The top five sides from next year's IPC Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships A Pool in South Korea will book places in Sochi, as will hosts Russia providing they compete in the 2012 and 2013 IPC Ice Sledge Hockey A or B Pool Tournaments.

A qualification tournament for teams ranked sixth to eighth from the A Pool event, along with the top three teams from the B Pool, will compete in a further qualification event for the final three spots.

Paralympics ice_sledge_hockey_May_31
There will be ten mixed teams of five athletes competing in the wheelchair curling, with the top nine ranked countries following the 2013 World Championships booking a place in Sochi.

Again Russia qualify automatically as hosts; if they occupy a top nine spot then the tenth ranked team will qualify.

In addition to each sport's miminum criteria, the IPC will also be making a total of 20 bipartite invitation qualification slots available in alpine skiing, biathlon and cross country skiing.

This is to ensure that athletes unable to take part in qualification can compete in Sochi, with NPCs having until May 31, 2013, to submit applications for bipartite slots.

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