MOSCOW, March 7 (R-Sport) - Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev expressed his pride Thursday at Russia's status as host of the 2014 Winter Paralympics, which begin in exactly a year's time.
More than 1,300 athletes from 45 countries are expected to take part in the event in the Black Sea resort of Sochi starting March 7, 2014.
"The eleventh Winter Paralympic Games, which will take place place in Sochi, is the first Paralympic Games that our country will receive, and we are proud of that," Medvedev said.
"We believe that for us, this is a very important event," he added.
Moscow staged the 1980 Summer Olympics but the Soviet Union controversially refused to hold the sixth Paralympics, which went ahead in the Netherlands instead.
"There will be a huge number of Paralympic athletes, and I'm sure we'll create all the necessary conditions for them to train, and for us to see a great sporting festival with Paralympic participants from all over the world," Medvedev said.
Organizers marked the year-to-go waypoint with the unveiling of the Paralympic torch relay route. The 10-day relay is to take in all eight of Russia's federal districts, with more than 1,000 torchbearers set to help the flame pass near at least 44 towns and cities.
The games will feature five sports: Alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing, ice sledge hockey and wheelchair curling.
Last year's addition of para-snowboard to the program brings the number of medal sets on offer to 72.
Organizers see the Paralympics as a chance to boost living standards for Russia's disabled community and in October launched an online map that locates facilities for disabled people all over the country.