October 23 - Sochi has marked 500 days to go to the 2014 Winter Paralympic Games in the city by unveiling a revolutionary Accessibility Map for disabled people.
The interactive Accessibility Map – which is available to view at www.kartadostupnosti.ru – has already highlighted 500 accessible venues located by Sochi 2014 volunteers from dozens of Russian cities.
Created in conjunction with the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), the new Accessibility Map website was presented and demonstrated by the Sochi 2014 President and chief executive Dmitry Chernyshenko and Sochi 2014 volunteers to the guests gathered in the Equal Opportunities Park in Sochi city centre.
Volunteers and internet users can visit the website to access a complete list of barrier-free venues and infrastructure in Russia to make it easier for people with a disability to find places to play sport near to their home, sometimes for the very first time.
"In 2014, Sochi will host the first Paralympic Games in the history of Russia," said Chernyshenko.
"I am sure the high accessibility standards that will have been set in the Olympic region by 2014 will be needed in other cities across the whole country, and our efforts in passionately promoting the Paralympic values will help to remove the 'barriers' in society towards people with a disability forever."
The website has been developed to take accessibility requirements into account, allowing a user to switch to an alternative version for visually impaired users with just one click of a mouse.
After the Paralympic Games, the project will be further developed, with the internet allowing the programme to reach thousands of people online.
"I am delighted that to mark 500 days to go until the Winter Games, Sochi 2014 is launching its innovative accessibility map," said IPC President Sir Philip Craven.
"This project will help generate awareness across Russia of accessible facilities and is a project that, with the help and support of the IPC, could act as a blueprint for other countries to follow.
"Planning for the launch of this project started some time ago under the supervision of the IPC and I am pleased to see it come to fruition to mark 500 days to go."
Russian Paralympic Committee (RPC) general secretary Mikhail Terentiev added: "The Accessibility Map is a completely unique project for Russia.
"Its uniqueness lies not only in it being the first interactive map of the sports venues for people with a disability, but also in the fact that it is created from and will be added by the data received from the residents of Russian cities.
"Every resident of Russia can contribute to the creation of a barrier-free Russia which will make it possible for people with disabilities to lead an independent lifestyle and to actively participate in the development of our society."
Meanwhile, to mark the 500 days to go milestone visitors at Equal Opportunities Park could meet Paralympians, try their hand at several Paralympic sports, including sledge hockey, and attempt to cross an obstacle course blindfolded.
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