May 15 - Para-snowboarding star Carl Murphy of New Zealand has reacted with delighted to the major announcement earlier this month that his sport will be included at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Games less than a year after it was rejected.
Sochi 2014 originally dismissed a proposal from the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and World Snowboard Federation (WSF) to include Para-snowboard at the event but then backtracked on their decision, which means that there will now be a total of 72 medal events at the 2014 Winter Paralympics as the sport joins downhill, super G, super combined, giant slalom and slalom on the Alpine skiing programme.
Murphy (pictured above and below) revealed he is delight as he is set to be a major gold medal prospect at the event.
He is currently ranked second in the world in adaptive snowboard cross and won silver at the inaugural Para-Snowboarding World Championships in 2009 in Cardrona, New Zealand.
"It has been my lifelong dream to compete in the Paralympic Games and represent New Zealand at the highest level," said the 33-year-old from Lake Hawea.
"I started competing five years ago and I am now number two in the world.
"I have no doubt I am capable of achieving gold in 2014.
"I know it's going to be very tough, with the high level of riders coming through the ranks, but I am confident with where I am now and will be working full steam ahead over the next 22 months to get myself into a position where I will be a realistic medal chance for the Sochi Games."
Murphy is a below-the-knee amputee and uses a prosthetic limb as he was born with a congenital defect in his right leg, resulting in the removal of his lower leg.
He works as a draughtsman and trains almost full-time at Cardrona Alpine Resort, but he is to continue his employment as he prepares for Sochi 2014.
"It is always a bit of a balance," he said.
"Being a disabled snowboarder, there is not a lot of funding.
"You still have to work.
"I train three or four mornings a week and work in the afternoons."
Murphy's coach Adam Dooney also hailed the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Games announcement.
"This is such good news for Para-snowboarding as a whole," he said.
"I am most excited for our riders.
"Paralympics New Zealand could send at least two riders to this event and with Carl currently ranked second in the world, we have a real shot at gold for New Zealand."
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May 2012: Para-snowboarding to make Paralympic debut at Sochi 2014 Games
October 2011: Mosher prepared for uphill task to get Para-snowboarding in the Games
August 2010: Para-snowboarding moves big step closer to inclusion for Sochi 2014