Torch relay of the XI Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi started today simultaneously in five cities in the Far East. In Vladivostok, the Olympic torch was carried through the world largest cable-stayed bridge, the Russky Bridge, following the previous torch carrying event.
The Winter Paralympic 2014 relay was started on the Sportivnaya Harbor Quay, and the torch then headed to Russky Island. The first torchbearers included Ksenia Bezuglova, Miss World among the disabled, Andrey Smolyannikov, member of the Russia national wheelchair rugby team, and Ruslan Chukanov, multiple winner of the Russian national bench-press competitions. More than ten relay participants carried the torch through the world record breaking cable-stayed bridge span over the Eastern Bosphorus Strait.
“I believe that the Paralympic Games are the greatest achievement of mankind. Here we can prove that we are as good as healthy people are in all respects. Sport is life, and it is accessible for us,” shared her impressions torchbearer Olga Derevtseva.
“The torch will bring victory to our country. I hope that it will bring good luck to our Paralympians! And they will win as it happened in Vancouver!” said Ruslan Chukanov wishing his friends good luck.
“Vladivostok is hosting the Paralympic Torch Relay today after the Olympic Torch Relay. Following in the footsteps of our Olympians who won big at the Sochi Olympics, we are confident that our Paralympic athletes will raise the banner, the great sport banner, even higher. And I will always remember that I was in Vladivostok during this great event, the Paralympic Torch Relay,” emphasized Lev Seleznev, Head of the Russian Paralympic Committee.
The Russky Bridge is a symbolic link between the capital of the APEC 2012 Summit and the capital of the 2014 Olympics. The builders of the SK MOST Group of Companies, who connected the mainland Vladivostok with Russky Island, have successfully completed construction of the main transport artery of the Sochi Games, the Adler – Alpika-Service combined railway and motorway route. The new high-speed route that connected the coastal and mountain sport clusters is the main reason why the first Winter Olympiad in Russia was recognized as the most compact in history. It is also noteworthy that Sochi-2014 has set up new standards of urban planning and urban development by creating a barrier-free environment. All sports facilities and infrastructure here are designed to meet the needs of people with disabilities.
It is no accident that the Olympic torches ignited in 45 cities of the country will be blended in the mountain cluster, at the Rosa Khutor alpine ski resort. The relay route that started in the Far East will run across the entire Russia. The Paralympic Winter Games officially open in Sochi on March 7, 2014.
Photo: Andrej Savin / SK MOST