By Duncan Mackay

Sochi 2014 Paralympic mascots one year to goMarch 7 - Celebrations attended by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President Sir Philip Craven have been held at Red Square in Moscow to celebrate the one-year countdown to the start of the Winter Paralympics in Sochi next year. 

A countdown clock was launched while the route for the Paralympic Torch Relay was also revealed for the first time. 

Around 1,300 disabled competitors and officials from 45 countries are expected to take part in the Games which are due to be held between March 7 and 16, 2014.

"The XI Winter Paralympic Games will be the first ever to take place in our country, and we are proud of it," Medvedev said from the stage.

"For us it's a very important event.

"Today we have a very strong Paralympics team, which achieves excellent results.

"We always look at the Paralympics athletes with admiration because it's always a power of will concentrated in each person, each specific scene at any given moment.

"And when our Paralympians win it's always a double pleasure for us.

"But, I think, any victory a Paralympian makes goes to the collection of mankind's sporting achievements."

Sir Philip Craven Red Square with Dmitry Medvedev March 7 2013IPC President Sir Philip Craven attended a special ceremony at Red Square in Moscow to celebrate the one-year countdown to the Winter Paralympics

The route of the Paralympic Torch will see it visit 43 Russian cities between February 26 and March with 1,500 torchbearers taking part. 

Every day, the Paralympic flame will be lit simultaneously in several Russian cities, so that at the end of the relay, thanks to the Paralympic flame "unification" ceremony, it will reach the Opening Ceremony of the Paralympic Games in Sochi, Russian officials revealed.

"Thanks to the barrier-free infrastructure Sochi is ready to host the Paralympics right now," Dmitry Chernyshenko, President and chief executive of Soch 2014, said.

"But what's more important is that the Games in Sochi are breaking the stereotypes that exist in our country towards people with disabilities, changing the life of 13 million Russians for the better."

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