By Tom Degun

St Georges ParkMay 14 - The British Paralympic Association (BPA) have staged a two-day workshop at St George's Park in Staffordshire for team leaders of the winter sports as they step up their preparations for Sochi 2014.

The meeting was headed by BPA performance director Penny Briscoe, who is the ParalympicsGB Chef de Mission for Sochi 2014, while the sports of alpine skiing, wheelchair curling and ice sledge hockey were represented at the workshop which took place at the the English Football Association's new state-of-the-art national football centre

"It has been challenging in terms of the amount of information that has been shared and discussed, but these workshops are a critical part of our mission to be best prepared and we've achieved a huge amount in terms of our preparedness for Sochi," said Briscoe.

"Working at close quarters with the team leaders and head coaches from the sports is essential both in terms of the BPA developing an in-depth understanding of the sports' needs and the sports in turn understanding the unique environment of the Paralympic Games."

The workshop aims to support sports on their journey to Sochi and ensure that team leaders have everything they need to provide their athletes with the best possible preparation for the Games.

The BPA therefore identified and reinforced the key performance, operational and communications considerations needed to send a "best prepared" ParalympicsGB team to Russia next year.

"It's been useful to gauge what we need to do in order to be best prepared for the coming months," said ice sledge hockey head coach Andrew Linton.

"It is now imperative that we are performing to the best of our ability, so it's an exciting time for our sport."

The two-day workshop saw an athlete's perspective provided by Dave Smith, who won gold in rowing at London 2012, while boccia team leader Matt Hammond illustrated his approach to the development of his sport specific support team in the build-up to a Games.

The Sochi 2014 Winter Paralympic Games will run from March 7 to 16.

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