By Tom Degun

pyeongchang ipc_seminar_03-07-12July 3 - Plans for the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Paralympic Games got underway this week after the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) delivered a special orientation seminar in the Korean city to around high profile 70 delegates.

The two-day orientation seminar (pictured above) saw an IPC delegation, headed by the organisation's chief executive Xavier Gonzalez, travel to the Alpensia Resort (pictured below) in Pyeongchang to speak with senior members of Pyeongchang 2018.

Pyeongchang 2018 vice-president and secretary general Dong Hoo Moon welcomed Gonzalez and outlined the Organising Committee's early plans for the Paralympic Games.

The IPC also met with Government officials and Korean Paralympic Committee secretary general Jin Ho Son during the visit.

But their main priority was the orientation seminar and Gonzalez, who was joined in Pyeongchang by the IPC's Paralympic Games integration director Thanos Kostopoulos and head of knowledge management Apostolos Rigas, introduced delegates to the background of the Paralympic Movement and informed them of key timelines that must be adhered to in order to plan for an inclusive Winter Games.

Key objectives for the 2018 event were identified, including accessibility, Games schedules and legacy opportunities and Gonzalez said it was an important first step in staging the event.

"The IPC orientation seminar is the first action of a long-term comprehensive knowledge management programme that is now available from the IPC for the Paralympic Games organisers," he explained.

"It includes a series of educational workshops, observer's programmes, simulations and consulting all designed and executed within the Paralympic Excellence Programme in cooperation with the IPC Academy."

alpensia biathlon_centre_03-07-12
It was earlier this year that the IPC signed an extension to their agreement with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) which allows the Paralympics to be staged in the same city as the Olympics until at least 2020.

The original agreement only ran up to 2016, leading to uncertainty over whether Pyeongchang would actually stage a Paralympics, but the extension means the 2018 and 2020 Paralympic Games now have a secure future alongside the Olympics.

It is a boost for the IPC as Pyeongchang 2018 will be the first time the Paralympics have been stage in South Korea since the Seoul 1988 Summer Paralympics.

The Pyeongchang 2018 Paralympics are due take place between March 9 and 18 with over 50 countries expected to send around 600 athletes to compete across five sports.

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