By Nick Butler at the Lakai Sandpine Resort Hotel in Gangneung

Cho Yang-ho has outlined how seriously Pyeongchang 2018 are taking organising the Winter Paralympic Games ©Pyeongchang 2018Pyeongchang 2018 is outlining its commitment to the Winter Paralympic Games through a number of "exciting" new initiatives due to be rolled out this year, Organising Committee President Cho Yang-ho has claimed.

Less than three years before the Games are due to begin on March 9, these measures began at the weekend with the inaugural Pyeongchang "Paralympic Day" event in Seoul, a celebration open to the public which will be held annually over the next two years.

The Day will help to promote enthusiasm for the Games, it is hoped, while also "enhancing awareness and understanding of the challenges of competing in high level sports events with physical impairments".

Around 500 people attended the first such event Gwanghwamun Square in South Korea's capital, which included exhibitions of Para-sports equipment and "experience zones" for wheelchair curling and ice sledge hockey.

An Accessibility Manual for Paralympic venues and services has also recently been completed, based upon input from the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), as well as relevant South Korean legislation, and consultation with athletes and special authorised architects.

Cho Yang-ho's words follow the first Paralympic Day celebration event held in Seoul last weekend ©Pyeongchang 2018Cho Yang-ho's words follow the first Paralympic Day celebration event held in Seoul last weekend ©Pyeongchang 2018

"Our friends at Sochi 2014 staged an exemplary Paralympics last year and we have learned many lessons from their success and knowledge to improve and enhance our plan," said Cho, who became Pyeongchang 2018 President last July.

"Though the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games are still three years away, [Pyeongchang 2018] is committed to hosting the most successful Paralympic Winter Games and to raising awareness about Paralympic sports and showcasing the values of the Paralympic Movement."

Paralympic mascots and the Pyeongchang 2018 Paralympic vision are also due to be announced before the end of this year, while the next three years will be headlined with a number of interactive activities, including the Actualising the Dream Project initiatives.

This is aimed towards promoting Paralympic winter sports, raising awareness, and securing the social inclusion of people with impairments.

Concerns have been expressed over the slow speed of preparations for the Paralmpics in Pyeongchang, with IPC chief executive Xavier Gonzalez urging organisers to "start putting plans into action" following a Project Review inspection last month.

The Paralympic Games is among items on the agenda for the International Olympic Committee Coordination Commission, which began a three day inspection visit here today, with IPC Athletes Council chair Todd Nicholson the Commission's Paralympic representative.

Around 3,000 participants from 50 nations are set to compete at the Winter Paralympics, with snow sports to take place at Alpensia Sports Park, and Yongpyong and Jeongseon Alpine Centres, while ice events will be held here at the Gangneung Coastal Cluster.

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