By Tom Degun

RIA NovostiApril 4 - RIA Novosti, one of the largest news agencies in Russia, has been named as the official host national news agency for the Sochi 2014 Winter Paralympic Games.

The state-owned agency has its headquarters Moscow and operates about 80 bureaus internationally.

The announcement from the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) means that RIA Novosti will now provide comprehensive coverage of the 2014 Winter Paralympics, with particular emphasis on the performance of the Russian athletes competing at home.

"We are delighted that RIA Novosti will be acting as the host national news agency for the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games," said the IPC communications and media director Craig Spence.

"The cooperation with RIA Novosti will help us at the IPC to build the excitement about the Paralympic Games from now on and increase the awareness of the Paralympic athletes and the Paralympic Movement in Russia.

"This is key for a successful staging of the Games next year."

All news materials, beginning with the preparation period for the Sochi 2014 Winter Paralympics, will be available to Russian and foreign media and published on RIA Novosti Group's web resources, including the R-Sport sports news agency.

RIA Novosti's history dates back to 1941, when it was set-up under Joseph Stalin to provide propaganda reports on the Soviet Union's war effort against the Nazis.

It was set-up under its current guise by then Russian President Boris Yeltsin in 1991 and is now one of the most influential media outlets in the world, in large part thanks to its ownership of worldwide  television channel RT, formerly Russia Today.

The agency claims their host nation status will allow all Russian media to cover the 2014 Winter Paralympics more in-depth than ever before.

Kirill MikhaylovRussia’s four-time Paralympic champion Kirill Mikhaylov is likely to attract huge media attention at Sochi 2014 after winning three golds and two silvers at Vancouver 2010

"Covering Paralympic events has always been a priority for RIA Novosti and the IPC's decision is a great honour for us," said the head of RIA Novosti's Olympic team Maxim Filimonov.

"The agency plans to use over 50 journalists and photojournalists, who will focus mainly on the Russian athletes."

The Sochi 2014 Winter Paralympic Games will take place from March 7 until 16 with more than 700 athletes from 45 countries set to take part.

The event will mark the first time ever that Russia has hosted the Paralympic Games.

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