March 11 - Despite not yet reaching the halfway point, Sochi 2014 been hailed a huge success by International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President Sir Philip Craven, while organisers claim ticket sales and marketing revenue from the Games have already broken records.
Sir Philip has claimed that after only three full days of competition following the Opening Ceremony in the Fisht Stadium on Friday (March 7), the Games are "exceeding all expectations" and are on course to be the "best and most successful ever".
Despite many having reservations about how disability has been traditionally viewed in Russia, Sir Philip has also praised the support of the country's public in getting behind the Games, which organisers say has seen more than 300,000 tickets sold so far for events across the five sports, beating the record of 230,000 last time out at Vancouver 2010.
"It was important that in Sochi we built on the success of London 2012 and, together with the Organising Committee, we are certainly doing that," said Sir Philip.
"The performances of the athletes have stepped up to a new level and the depth of talent now in all five winter sports is fantastic.
"The feedback from athletes is that they are having the time of their lives and that is showing in their performances.
"Ticket sales have been superb.
"To break the 300,000 barrier is sensational and I know the Organising Committee is working hard to try to create extra capacity to cater for the huge demand for tickets.
"The Russian crowds also deserve huge credit for making these Games a huge success.
"Their vocal support has inspired the athletes and, what has pleased me the most, is that their support has not just been for Russian athletes but for athletes from all 45 countries.
"It's the Paralympic effect in action.
"No matter where the Games go, they have an ability to transform sports fans into sports fans for all, supporting all sides and all athletes."
A number of high profile broadcast deals in North America, Europe and parts of Asia in particular have contributed to the widest global reach of any Winter Parlaympic Games to date, according to organisers, who revealed the Games are being broadcast across 76 countries and territories.
They also claim that since 2009, more than RUB47 billion (£782 million/$1.3 billion//€939 million) of investment has been attracted from a variety of IPC and Games partners and that RUB3.5 billion (£57 million/$95 million//€69 million) of revenue has been generated from the Sochi 2014 marketing programme alone, making them the most successful Paralympic Winter Games in history.
The success of the marketing programme has been credited to the link-up with IPC Top Partners AtoS, Visa and Samsung as well as general partners of the Paralympic Winter Games including among others, Coca-Cola, Dow Chemical and Panasonic as well as Sochi 2014 Organising Committee partners that include Russian firms Ingosstrakh and Uralsky Zavod Protivogololodnych Materialov.
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