By Tom Degun

Penny BriscoeJanuary 15 - The British Paralympic Association (BPA) has today announced that their performance director Penny Briscoe will serve as the ParalympicsGB Chef de Mission for the Sochi 2014 Winter Games.

Sochi 2014 is set to be Briscoe's sixth Paralympic Games after she became BPA performance director in 2002.

Briscoe has previously served as Deputy Chef de Mission for ParalympicsGB at London 2012 and Vancouver 2010 while she has been one of the main architects of the British team's successful performances at the Paralympics over the last decade with the team having maintained a top three position for four consecutive Summer Games.

"I was absolutely delighted to have been asked to take on this position," said Briscoe.

"It is an honour and a privilege to be a Chef de Mission and I'm looking forward to bringing all my experience to this new challenge of leading a ParalympicsGB team at a Games.

"We know that working in Russia will be challenging, potentially more so than at either London or Vancouver, but this is where I believe the skills and experience I have developed over seven Paralympic and Olympic cycles will prove beneficial to the team."

Penny Briscoe 2Penny Briscoe has been BPA performance director since 2002 and was Deputy Chef de Mission for ParalympicsGB at London 2012 and Vancouver 2010

Former swimmer Craig Hunter served as ParalympicsGB Chef de Mission at London 2012 and prior to his appointment, former BPA chief executive Phil Lane served as Chef de Mission at four Paralympics at Athens 2004, Turin 2006, Beijing 2008 and Vancouver 2010.

But new BPA chief executive Tim Hollingsworth, who replaced Lane in 2011, has been keen to separate the role of ParalympicsGB Chef de Mission and BPA chief executive and is confident Briscoe is the best choice for Sochi 2014.

"Separating the Chef de Mission and functions worked extremely well in London and we were keen to replicate the model for Sochi," Hollingsworth said.

"While a much smaller team than in London we are committed to providing the same world class support.

"Penny is one of the most experienced people working in Paralympic sport in the UK and knows the environment incredibly well, so I'm delighted she has taken on the role.

"As a former athlete herself, she understands all the stresses and strains that the Games can pose, and she epitomises the athlete-centred focus of the work that the BPA does.

"She has also been at the heart of all our Sochi planning and is passionate about leaving no stone unturned in our performance preparations."

ParalympicsGB will be hoping to have a team competing in the three sports of wheelchair curling, alpine skiing and ice sledge hockey at Sochi 2014 depending on qualification.

Briscoe's first task therefore will be to monitor performances of all winter sports at their upcoming World Championships events.

ParalympicsGB failed to claim a medal at Vancouver 2010 after winning a silver in Turin four years earlier in wheelchair curling but they will be looking to improve under Briscoe at Sochi 2014.

Her appointment comes with just over one year to go to the 2014 Winter Paralympic Games and in advance of the Chef De Mission seminar being held in Sochi in March 2013.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]