Russia will welcome the sporting world back to Sochi this evening for the Winter Paralympics opening ceremony. Less than a fortnight after the Winter Olympics ended, 575 athletes from 45 countries will compete for 72 gold medals in five sports over 10 days.This is the largest number of athletes and countries to take part in the event since it was first held in 1976.
The Games, opened by Russian president Vladimir Putin, will begin amid an escalating political crisis in Ukraine.
The Paralympic Games is a major international multi-sport event, involving athletes with a range of physical and intellectual disabilities, including mobility disabilities, amputations, blindness, and cerebral palsy. There are Winter and Summer Paralympic Games, which since the 1988 Summer Games in Seoul, South Korea, are held immediately following the respective Olympic Games. All Paralympic Games are governed by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).