By Zjan Shirinian

More than 170 delegates will travel to Sochi for a fact-finding mission as part of the Observers Programme ©Getty ImagesFebruary 28 - Organisers of future Paralympic Games are preparing to travel to Sochi to learn all they can from the city when it stages nine days of top-level competition from next week.

The Organising Committees of Rio 2016, Pyeongchang 2018 and Tokyo 2020 will be among more than 170 delegates enrolled on the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Observers Programme.

They will be joined by representatives from the five bid cities for the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics, and organisers of major global events, including the 2018 Fifa World Cup in Russia.

From Tuesday (March 4), they will experience first-hand the planning and operations behind staging a Winter Paralympics.

Over the next 13 days, they will meet members of the Sochi 2014 Organising Committee and IPC staff.

"The IPC Observers Programme is an extremely important component of the knowledge transfer process for future Paralympic Games Organising Committees and forms a fundamental part of the IPC Academy Campus 2014 activities", said Apostolos Rigas, the IPC's Head of Knowledge Management.

"For all delegates, it gives a superb and unique behind-the-scenes view of a major international sporting event, as it provides an understanding of the physical Games environment and benefits from the commentary and analysis of Paralympic Games specialists."

The Sochi 2014 Winter Paralympics begin in one week ©Getty ImagesThe Sochi 2014 Winter Paralympics begin in one week ©Getty Images

Those on the Observers Programme will go on 30 venue and operational visits, and take part in a number of workshops and roundtable discussions so they can learn how every aspect of the Games is run and how the needs of stakeholders are met.

Running alongside the Observers Programme, the IPC Academy is also organising the Games Experience Programme, together making the IPC Academy Campus 2014.

It will target "the supply chain of major event delivery, including corporate partners and governments", and "aims to deliver a multi-stakeholder perspective of Games management by providing insights and privileged access to observe and understand core operating functions".

The three-day Campus is due to begin on March 12.

The Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games is scheduled to begin on March 7, with the Closing Ceremony on March 16.

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