The International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS) has been holding World Games since 1948 among athletes with musculoskeletal system disorders. For the first time the Games were held in Russia at sports facilities in Sochi.
The Russian team consisted of 196 athletes. Of 213 sets of medals the athletes competed for, Russia won 323 different medals, thus becoming an absolute leader in the overall medal count.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, friends,
It is a pleasure to meet with you right after the IWAS World Games. What can I say? You amazed everyone yet again with your results. As the Minister of Sports said, you were not very hospitable towards your competitors.
This was the first time these Games were held in Russia at sports facilities in Sochi, a city that hosted the Olympic and Paralympic Games, which have definitely become the symbol of our victory.
More than 500 athletes from 34 countries competed in track and field, swimming, table tennis, archery, arm wrestling and para-Taekwondo competitions. This is a very interesting set of events. It is a pity I did not have the opportunity to see any of them, but I hope I will some other time.
Our team was the most numerous with 196 athletes from 48 regions of the Russian Federation. I would like to use this occasion, this meeting with you, my friends, to address the heads of regions. These are difficult times, though I can hardly remember when they were easy, there is never enough money in the budget, and the easiest thing to do is to cut social spending, such as the funding of sport. I want to ask our regional heads to pay more attention to sports and help athletes. I do not mean only Paralympic athletes, but sport in general. I hope this is how it will be.
Your team – our team has become an absolute leader in the medal count, winning 123 gold, 105 silver and 95 bronze medals.
The IWAS Federation has brought together both renowned masters and beginning athletes, who in the course of the Games had a chance to make themselves known and get a good sports rating, and many of them made very good use of this opportunity.
I would like to specially greet those who took part in the Games for the first time.
At the Sochi competitions, Russian athletes have demonstrated excellent results and a high degree of readiness for new events.
I know that experts consider the IWAS World Games an important stage in preparations for the 2016 Paralympic Games to be held in Rio de Janeiro. Your success here in Sochi, at the local facilities has given you a good lead for your performance in Rio.
You have given both your fans and guests on the stands the unforgettable joy of victory. And you have proven once again that human potential is limitless, while perseverance and willpower can perform miracles.
I am certain that your example will continue to inspire many others to move on. It is not a coincidence that Paralympic sports have been developing so rapidly in the past years, setting unusually high standards, introducing new sports and amazing by their achievements.
This country has made a significant breakthrough. It’s enough to recall last year’s triumph, as I have said, at the Winter Paralympic Games.
However, you, my friends, know just as well as I do that one cannot remain a leader by staying in place. You should continuously move on. Now you have every condition for it: an advanced sports infrastructure, modern equipment, technology and the possibilities for proper training. We have Sochi – a recognised world sports capital.
I would like to once again congratulate you on your outstanding performance at the IWAS World Games. I thank you for your work and results. Please convey my most sincere greetings to your teammates, and of course special thanks to your coaches, mentors, doctors and experts of the Russia’s team – all those who help our athletes and support them.
My congratulations, once again. I hope you will not stop here and will show equally outstanding results in Rio de Janeiro.
Thank you very much. My congratulations.