By Daniel Etchells

Pyeongchang 2018 has completed its 'Accessibility Manual' for venues and services ©Getty ImagesPyeongchang 2018 has today confirmed the completion of its signature Accessibility Manual for venues and services, aimed at helping towards the staging of a successful Paralympic Games.

The announcement comes less than four weeks after the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) urged the Pyeongchang Organising Committee (POCOG) to "start putting plans into action", following the fourth Project Review inspection of the Winter Games in Seoul.

Following the finalisation of the Manual, POCOG is now proposing to begin a thorough accessibility inspection of the Games' facilities, services and infrastructure this year to further accelerate its preparations.

The Manual has incorporated guidelines from the IPC's Accessibility Guide and relevant South Korean legislation in a bid to ensure maximum access and convenience for athletes and attendees alike.

Over the past four months, POCOG is said to have evaluated the suitability and feasibility of the Manual by gathering input from various stakeholders, such as IPC officials, athletes and sports fans with impairment, and special authorised architects.

The main two contents of the Manual are area accessibility and games service accessibility.

The former covers standards for overall facilities, for example ramps, stairs and elevators, and accommodation facilities, while the latter focuses on various categories such as publication, communication and transportation, and includes requirements that Gangwon Province and venue cities can refer to when looking to improve accessibility for city infrastructure.

IPC chief executive Xavier Gonzalez stressed in February that the following 12 months would be "critical" in shaping up the future of the 2018 Winter Games ©Getty ImagesIPC chief executive Xavier Gonzalez stressed last month that the following 12 months would be "critical" in shaping up the future of the 2018 Winter Games ©Getty Images

All spectators, including the physically-impaired, the elderly, and pregnant women will have access to the full array of venues, services and infrastructure without discrimination, it is claimed.

Starting this week, POCOG intends to utilise the Accessibility Manual to prepare for the Games by distributing it to relevant stakeholders including the South Korean Government, venue cities, the Korean Paralympic Committee and organisations for physically-impaired athletes.

The Organising Committee is also aiming to leave a legacy model of accessibility for South Korea, setting higher standards for the entire nation.

Speaking after the completion of last month's Project Review inspection, IPC chief executive Xavier Gonzalez stressed that the following 12 months would be "critical" in shaping up the future of the Games, scheduled to take place between March 9 and 18. 

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