By Duncan Mackay in Baku

UNICEF representative Colin Higgs held a workshop for representatives from the Azerbaijan National Paralympics Committee in Baku ©ANPCA four-day workshop to help Azerbaijan develop its children's Paralympic Movement has been held here under the guidance of Colin Higgs, a Canadian representing UNICEF.

Higgs made several presentations and held a number of workshops at an event organised by the National Paralympic Committee of Azerbaijan Republic (ANPC), who are behind the scheme to try to help encourage more youngsters with disabilities take up sport.

As well as representatives representing the Paralympic Movement, officials from the Government and Non-Governmental Organisations also took part in the events. 

Among the topics they were discussed were the development of a Children's Paralympic Committee and efforts to attract youngsters with disabilities.

The scheme, launched in September last year, is a key part of a strategic plan designed to help Azerbaijan prepare for the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro.

During his four day trip, Higgs, a former Professor of Physical Education at the Memorial University of Newfoundland, held discussions with ANPC members on establishment of the legal framework for the Children's Paralympic Committee.

Higgs had been invited to Azerbaijan following a Memorandum of Understanding signed between UNICEF's Azerbaijan Office and the ANPC.

Azerbaijan made their debut in the Paralympics at Atlanta 1996, when they were represented by just two athletes.

They won their first medal at Sydney four years later, a silver for Yelena Taranova in the mixed free pistol SH1, and their first gold at Athens 2004, Oleg Panyutin, in the F12 long jump.

At London 2012 21 athletes competed in six sports with Azerbaijan finished 27th overall with a total of 12 medals, including four gold.

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