It is my great pleasure to welcome all the participants of the 18th Winter Deaflympics in Khanty-Mansiysk.
For the first time, the Russian Federation will host the flagship winter event of the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf (ICSD). After the Olympic Winter Games and the Paralympic Winter Games held in Sochi in 2014, the Winter Deaflympics underline the growing role of Russia as a major winter sports event-organizing country.
Deaf sport occupies an important place within the sports community. I would like here to thank the ICSD, recognized by the International Olympic Committee, as a valued partner that promotes the practice of sport and its values worldwide.
Your active contribution to Olympic Agenda 2020 was of great benefit to the entire Olympic Movement. It has also reinforced the value of partnerships with organizations managing sport for people with different abilities.
To all the athletes, I would like to thank you for your tenacity and enthusiasm. You are a real source of inspiration for many of your peers, in particular the young generation as well as to the public around the world. Please compete in the best spirit of excellence, friendship and respect. Be proud of your performances and make the most of every opportunity.
To the organisers, I wish you every success in the 18th Winter Deaflympics. To all of you, athletes, friends, family and fans, enjoy the nine days of world-class competition here in Khanty-Mansiysk!