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Monthly update from our Chef de Mission

on 17-07-2013 13:00

ParalympicsGB Chef de Mission for Sochi 2014 Penny Briscoe shares an insight into the planning and activity behind preparing the team for the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.

The sun may be shining, but preparations for the winter Games have continued to develop at a pace in all areas of the organisation. Crucially, this month we have made key progress in determining what the ParalympicsGB team will look like at the Winter Games.

Achieving IPC/International Federation qualification standards for Sochi is the crucial first step for both the athletes and their support staff in each Paralympic Games cycle. The good news for ParalympicsGB is that Alpine Skiing have achieved qualifying standards in both the men’s and women’s disciplines. The BPA Qualification and Selection Committee, after detailed consultation with the BDST Senior Management team, recently confirmed the acceptance of un-named athlete slots with IPC Alpine Skiing. In a similar fashion, the BPA has also been able to confirm acceptance of the Wheelchair Curling slot after a successful qualification campaign by the Scottish squad. In short, this means ParalympicsGB will be represented in both ice and snow sports in their respective coastal and mountain venues next year.

"ParalympicsGB will be represented in both ice and snow sports in their respective coastal and mountain venues next year." Penny Briscoe

The final piece in the winter sport jigsaw for Great Britain is Ice Sledge Hockey. Following their fantastic bronze medal win at the Pool B World Championships in Nagano earlier this year, Great Britain’s Ice Sledge Hockey team now have confirmation of the critical next step on their journey to qualify for Sochi. The 2013 IPC Ice Sledge Hockey Paralympic Winter Games Qualification Tournament (‘the final qualifier’) will be held between October 19-27 in Turin, Italy, where GB will do battle with Italy, Korea, Sweden, Germany and Japan for one of the final three slots available at Sochi 2014. I know that you will all join me in wishing the GB squad all the best for their preparations over the next few months as they focus on preparing for this vital competition.

In other news, I was delighted to be invited the recent UK Sport ‘2014 and 2016 Mission Media Briefing’. This session was chaired by Liz Nichol (CEO UK Sport) with input from Hugh Robertson (Sports Minister) and Simon Timson (UK Sport Director of Sport). Mike Hay (BOA Chef de Mission) and myself presented our respective Sochi updates and were able to report positively on both progress at sport level and within the organising committee. Importantly, following UK Sport’s annual review of winter sport programmes, it was confirmed that additional funding will be provided to the Alpine Skiing team following their success over the 2012/13 season. I’m delighted by this decision as it will enable, at least in part, the appropriate level of support for the crucial final months of preparation for Sochi.

Other parts of the organisation are also busy with their preparations for the Games. The Operations team, in addition to working on determining final accommodation and transport requirements, are also working hard on plans for the Team Launch. It’s fair to say that I am really looking forward to this event which has become an integral part of team preparation before a Games.

"It’s all hands on deck as the team behind the team work to ensure that everything is in place."Penny Briscoe

So it’s all hands on deck as the team behind the team work to ensure that everything is in place for the athletes who will represent ParalympicsGB in Sochi.

Click here to catch up on my blogs from previous months. Next month I will be reporting back on the work of our Paralympic Preparation Advisory Group, very much the team behind the team, who will be supporting our athletes and staff in being best prepared when it matters most.


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