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The start of something extraordinary

Duane Kale named as torchbearer for Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games

Duane Kale was today announced as one of 34 torchbearers who will represent the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) in the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games Torch Relay on 6 and 7 March.

He says, “I am delighted to have the opportunity to carry the torch in the lead up to the opening of the Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi.”  He continues, “Although board duties will take up a good portion of my time in Sochi, I am particularly looking forward to seeing the Kiwi's competing on the slopes.”

Duane is best known as an outstanding Paralympic swimmer who won six medals (4 Gold, 1 Silver, 1 Bronze) and broke four world records at the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Games.  He continued his involvement in Paralympic sport as Chef de Mission of the New Zealand team at Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Paralympic Games.

The 10-day long Sochi 2014 Paralympic Torch Relay started on 26 February and, by the time of the Opening Ceremony, will have passed through 46 cities in each different Russian region and involved 1,500 torchbearers. On 5 March, the eighth day of the relay, the Paralympic Flame will be created at a special uniting ceremony before the Torch Relay embarks on a final 48 hours around the host city.

Duane will be representing the IPC Governing Board in his status as a Member at Large in the Torch Relay, along with President Sir Philip Craven, Vice President Andrew Parsons and other Members at Large Patrick Jarvis, Kyung-Won Na, John Petersson and Chairperson of the IPC Athletes’ Council Todd Nicholson. IPC Life President Bob Steadward will also be involved as will the UN’s Wilfried Lemke.

On 1 March, the first ever international leg of a Paralympic Torch Relay took place in Stoke Mandeville, Great Britain, in recognition of the town as the spiritual birthplace of the Paralympic Movement. For all future editions of the Games, Stoke Mandeville and Great Britain will host a leg of the Paralympic Torch Relay and as a result they will be represented in Sochi by four torchbearers, led by British Paralympic Association President Tim Reddish.

The final IPC places in the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Torch Relay have been awarded to IPC Worldwide Paralympic and International Partners, as well as supporters of the Agitos Foundation, including IPC Honorary Board member Hassan Ali Bin Ali.

The Sochi 2014 Paralympic torch was developed by a team of famous Russian designers and engineers. The torch weighs about 1.8 kg and has a length of 95 cm, is blue and has a base that is light "metallic" silver. The concept of the urban Sochi 2014 Paralympic Torch Cauldron resonates with the concept of the torch and is implemented in an identical style. The height and width of the cauldrons are 130cm and 60cm, respectively. The foundation is 110cm. These cauldrons will be installed in all the cities along the route of the Sochi 2014 Relay.

The Relay will conclude at the Opening Ceremony of the Paralympic Games at the Fisht Olympic Stadium on 7 March.