By Gary Anderson

December 12 - Samsung has created a mobile application in partnership with Sochi 2014 to improve accessibility for the disabled ©AFP/Getty ImagesFans and local residents with an impairment visiting Sochi 2014 will have the opportunity to use an "Accessibility Map" on their smartphones during the event as a result of a partnership between Samsung, the Games Organising Committee and the "United Country" Foundation for People with Disabilities.

Worldwide Olympic Partner Samsung Electronics developed the app to enable users to obtain information in a quick and easy way about city amenities with a barrier-free environment, while sharing information about recommended travel routes and nearby locations where they can take up Paralympic sport.

The map, first launched in October 2012, now features more than 13,000 barrier-free facilities in over 500 towns throughout Russia.

Sochi 2014 claims that the development of the new application is a key part of its Paralympic awareness programme as it helps to raise the profile of Paralympic sport and change the perception of disability in Russia.

"Over the seven years of preparation for the first-ever Paralympic Winter Games in Russia, the Sochi 2014 Organising Committee has contributed to changing attitudes towards people with disabilities in Russia," said Sochi 2014 President and chief executive Dmitry Chernyshenko.

"These changes are evident already, and the universal accessibility standards developed by the Sochi 2014 project are an example to all Russian regions.

"The unique internet project 'Accessibility Map' reflects these changes."

The application, which has received a number of awards including the Runet Prize in 2012 and the Golden Drum 2013, is part of an ongoing commitment to improving quality of life for people with disabilities and raising awareness among the general public and the Government in Russia through socio-sporting projects, claims Samsung.

The Accessibility Map was launched in October 2012 to mark 500 days to go until the Sochi 2014 Winter Paralympic Games ©Sochi 2014The Accessibility Map was launched in October 2012 to mark 500 days to go until the Sochi 2014 Winter Paralympic Games ©Sochi 2014

"We are proud that for the past few years, Samsung has been supporting the Paralympic Movement," said Gian Sang Ho, President of the Samsung Electronics headquarters for the CIS.

"We are pleased that Samsung technological solutions contribute to improving the quality of life for people with disabilities."

Internet users, Sochi 2014 volunteers and representatives of disability organisations in Russia participated in the development of the project, and officials from the City of Sochi have also worked closely with developers to ensure that visitors and fans, as well as local residents with a disability, will have better access to the city's public amenities and facilities during the Games and beyond.

"I am delighted to support Samsung, a long-time worldwide partner of the Paralympic Games, to launch the barrier-free Sochi application for smartphones," Zhanna Grigoryeva, head of the Olympic Department for the City of Sochi, added.

"This initiative will help to bring the city's project to the new level with up-to-date technologies, and will provide memorable experiences for people with disabilities at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Games."

The Russian version of the "Accessibility Map" app is available now on Google Play, while the English version will be uploaded at the end of this month.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

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