IWAS World Games 2015 declared open in Sochi, Russia


The Opening Ceremony held at the Athletics Stadium, 'South Sports' saw over 600 athletes welcomed to the Games in Sochi.

The Opening Ceremony kicked off the IWAS World Games 2015 last night (28 September) in an evening of entertainment and celebration of sport in welcoming over 600 athletes to the Games at the Opening Ceremony.  

The Opening Ceremony was attended by guests of honour, IWAS President, Paul DePace, Vice President of IPC and President of the Paralympic Committee of Brazil, Andrew Parsons, Deputy Minister of Sports of the Russian Federation and Chairman of the Organising Committee of the IWAS World Games 2015, Yuri Nagornykh. Also in attendance was the President of the Paralympic Committee of Russia, Vladimir Lukin, the Head of Organisation of the IWAS World Games 2015, Second Vice-President of IWAS and First Vice-President of the Russian Paralympic Committee, Pavel Rozhkov, Minister of Physical Culture and Sports of the Krasnodar Territory, Mayor of Sochi, Anatoly Pakhomov and Olympic Athletics Champion, Lyudmila Chernova.

Following a dance performance to ‘Friendship of People’, the audience welcomed over 600 athletes from all 34 competing nations to the arena in the Parade of Nations.

The Russian flag was then carried into the arena by triple Paralympic champions in athletics, Eugene Shvetsov and Elena Sviridov, a three-time Paralympic champion in swimming Dmitry Kokarev, bronze medalist of the Paralympic Games in archery, Stepanida Artahinova and multiple world champions in para-taekwondo, Spartak Gazzaev and Vladislav Krichfalushy.

The IWAS flag was presented to the Arena and raised by IWAS President, Paul DePace and IWAS Executive Board members, Pavel Rozhkov, Bob Paterson, Dina Sotiriadi, Rudi Van den Abeele and IWAS Games Technical Manager, Jan Bockweg.

Speeches were then delivered by guests of honour to the audience and nations delegations. IWAS President, Paul DePace expressed his gratitude to the LOC of Russia for taking on the task of organising the IWAS World Games and was confident the hosting of the Games would continue the momentum of the Winter Paralympics 2014 in promototing disability sport in Russia and worldwide. 

Vice-President of IPC and President of the Paralympic Committee of Brazil, Andrew Parsons expressed his support of the IWAS Games programme in their providing of an athlete pathway from grass-roots to Paralympic success. He wished the athletes the best of luck in their competition and looked forward to seeing some of them compete at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.  

President of the Russian Paralympic Committee, Vladimir Lukin, read the welcome address of the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin: 

‘Such large-scale events are very important. After all, the participants not only achieve outstanding sporting achievements – they are paving the way for others, helping people with disabilities to believe in themselves, to make a choice in favour of an active lifestyle.’

The ceremony came to a close with the reading of the Paralympic Oaths. Olesya Vladykina, double Paralympic champion in swimming read the oath on behalf of the athletes and on behalf of the judges, four-time Russian Paralympic champion in cross-country skiing and biathlon, Irek Zaripov. Head coach of the Russian national team in athletics, Oleg Kostyuchenko, finished with the Coaches Oath.

The Games will see more than 600 athletes from 34 countries compete in Athletics, Swimming, Archery, Table tennis, Para-Taekwondo and Arm Sport from 26 September to 3 October 2015.