By Gary Anderson

Pyeongchang Mayor Lee Seok-rae accepts the Paralympic flag at the Closing Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games ©Getty Images An initiative aimed at developing and raising awareness of Paralympic winter sports in South Korea has been launched by the Organising Committee of the Pyeongchang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games.

The "Actualising the Dream" project was part of PyeongChang's bid for the 2018 Paralympic Games and is a first for any Organising Committee, it is being claimed.

The project will see the launch of 13 programmes under four different streams aimed at raising public awareness of the Games, increase participation in Para-sport, growing the profile of the Paralympic Movement and leaving a lasting legacy.

Organisers say they will work closely with the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and the South Korean Paralympic Committee (KPC) in various programmes aimed at enhancing the performance of South Korean Paralympians and promoting the Games, which are scheduled to take place from March 9 to 18.

These will include hosting a number of international competitions and staging an International Paralympic Day.

IPC President Sir Philip Craven attended the project's launch in Seoul and welcomed the new initiative.

"I am delighted that the Actualising the Dream project will go some way to making for a stronger national team for the 2018 Games," said the Briton, who was joined at the launch by President of the KPC, Sungil Kim, and IPC Governing Board member, Kyungwon Na.

"Through hosting a range of competitions across all winter sports, expanding the athlete pool, raising the profile of Paralympic athletes, and educating millions of people across all age groups about the Paralympic Movement, I am certain Actualising the Dream will fulfil its objectives and leave a lasting and sustainable legacy.

"The athletes this project will create and develop will go on to not just become proud Paralympians, but agents for social change.

"By becoming ambassadors for the Paralympic Movement, they will spearhead attitudinal change, making for a more inclusive society."

Lee Chi Won was one of 27 South Korean athletes to take part at the Sochi 2014 Paralympics ©Getty Images Lee Chi Won was one of 27 South Korean athletes to take part at the Sochi 2014 Paralympics ©Getty Images

South Korea has only won two medals at Paralympic Winter Games, with Alpine skier Han Sang Min taking silver in the giant slalom at Salt Lake City 2002, and another silver for the wheelchair curlers at Vancouver 2010.

It sent 27 athletes to Sochi 2014 but failed to medal.

The campaign in South Korea follows similar drives by organisers of recent Paralympic Games to boost the awareness and profile of, as well as raise participation numbers in, Paralympic sport.

Organisers of the Sochi 2014 Paralympics, at which Russia had its largest ever delegation of athletes who won a record 80 medals including 30 gold, launched an Accessibility Map application designed to provide information on access to barrier-free venues and cities across Russia during the Games there and beyond.

It is claimed users of the application can now find information on more than 16,450 locations in more than 600 towns and cities across the country.

Following London 2012, the British Paralympic Association launched an annual National Paralympic Day which takes place at the Queen Elizabeth II Olympic Park, while UK government agency Sport England has said it will pump £170 million ($289 million/€215 million) into disability sport between 2013 and 2017.

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